Shirley Knight, Oscar-Nominated Actress, Dead at 83
By Liz Calvario
Giacinta Pace/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Shirley Knight, a two-time Academy Award-nominated actress, has died at her home in Texas. She was 83.
Her daughter, Kaitlin Hopkins, confirmed her mother's death on her Facebook on Wednesday, sharing that she died of natural causes.
"Early this morning April 22nd you passed away, and your sweet soul left us for a better place. I was at your side and you went peacefully," Hopkins wrote in a lengthy post. "To me, you were 'just mom', to some you were 'Miss Knight', 'Miss Shirley', 'Mama Shirley' (to my students), 'Shirl the Girl' (to your friends), and 'Shirley Knight' to your fans."
"I had the good sense over Easter weekend when you were still doing well [to] use the opportunity to FaceTime with your closest friends and family. You had a chance to visit with the people you needed to see, the people who loved you so much, and perhaps that was the closure you needed," Hopkins continued. "I just know after that you were ready to let go, and we brought you home."
After sharing details of Knight's final days, Hopkins wrote that they created the Shirley Knight Memorial Fund to honor her mom's legacy. The fund will provide "young artists the opportunity to attend school and pursue their dreams."
With over 180 acting credits to her name, Knight began her career in Hollywood in the late '50s, and made a name for herself in the '60s. She was nominated twice for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
Her accolades also include a Tony Award for her performance in Kennedy's Children in 1976. She was also nominated eight times at the Primetime Emmy Awards and won three. In 1996, she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for Indictment: The McMartin Trial.
Her films include The Group (1966), The Dutchman (1966), Petulia (1968), The Rain People (1969), Juggernaut (1974), Endless Love (1981), As Good as It Gets (1997), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) and Grandma's Boy (2006), among many others.
As for TV, she appeared in The Eleventh Hour, The Outer Limits ("The Man Who Was Never Born"), The Reporter,The Fugitive, The Invaders, Murder, She Wrote, Thirtysomething, Law & Order, L.A. Law, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, ER, House M.D. and many more.
Upon hearing the news of her death, friends, fans and former colleagues expressed their condolences on social media.
"RIP to the talented, prolific, Shirley Knight. Rest well," Viola Davis tweeted.
Our weekend in Shawnee! That fan! The greenery. The laugh and stories and nice red wine. Didn’t we watch Sweet Bird of Youth with her and rag on Geraldine’s ham factor? I think we did. #shirleyknighthttps://t.co/VeXHWDUBCE