Tributes Paid to 'Moonstruck' Actress Olympia Dukakis Following Her Death at Age 89
Tributes are being paid to Olympia Dukakis after the Oscar-winning Moonstruck actress passed away at age 89 over the weekend.
Dukakis, whose career stretched out over 60 years, died at her home in Manhattan Saturday. Sharing the sad news on Facebook, her brother Apollo Dukakis wrote: "My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City."
"After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis," he added, referring to Dukakis's late husband, Mad About You actor Louis Zorich, who passed away in 2018.
Dukakis won an Oscar for her performance as a warm but straight-talking Italian-American matriarch in the 1987 romantic comedy movie Moonstruck. Cher, who played her on-screen daughter in the film, hailed her as "amazing" and revealed that she had spoken to Dukakis just three weeks ago.
"Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck, & Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, We [laughing emoji] ALL The Time," Cher wrote in a tweet. "She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis,Her ”Handsome Talented,Husband."
Two years after Moonstruck, Dukakis appeared in the classic female-led comedy-drama movie Steel Magnolias. Paying tribute to her on Twitter, co-star Sally Field wrote: "What can I say but I loved her? Everyone loved her. She was a gift... unique and talented and one of a kind. Rest in peace, my friend Olympia."
Another Steel Magnolias co-star, Dolly Parton, shared her recollections of Dukakis with Today. "I really got very close to her and felt like we were good friends," she said. "Even though I didn't get to see her much, I thought of her often and knew that she was such a quality human being. She will be missed by her fans, her family, and those of us that were lucky enough to get to know her personally."
Dukakis was also known for her role as free-spirited landlady Anna Madrigal in the various TV adaptations of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City novels. She received Emmy and BAFTA nominations for her performance as the iconic matriarch, a trans character beloved in the LGBTQ community, and reprised her role in the 2019 continuation series on Netflix.
Jen Richards, who portrayed a younger Anna Madrigal in the continuation series, wrote on Twitter: "Everyone on #TalesoftheCity set had a wild story about Olympia Dukakis. In prep to play Anna Madrigal, I watched everything she’d done on screen, and read her books. Sensitive, sassy, in love with her craft, full of wry humor and sharp intelligence. A broad for the ages."
During her accomplished and prolific career, Dukakis appeared in around 130 stage productions, around 60 films, and around 50 TV series. Her life and career were celebrated in the 2020 documentary film Olympia.
She is survived by her three children. Rest in Peace, Olympia Dukakis, and thank you for your contribution.