Olympia Dukakis, Hollywood’s favorite late bloomer who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Moonstruck” — has died. She was 89.
Dukakis, a cousin of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, died Saturday at her home in New York City. Her brother, Apollo, wrote on Facebook, “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [husband] Louis.”
In addition to her scene-stealing turn at age 56 as Cher’s overbearing Brooklyn mom in 1987’s “Moonstruck,” Dukakis was known for her roles in “Steel Magnolias,” “Look Who’s Talking” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”
She spent years working in the theater, both Broadway and off-Broadway. She won Obie awards for Bertolt Brecht’s “A Man’s a Man” and Christopher Durang’s “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and was also nominated for three Emmys.
Dukakis was born June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of a Greek immigrant who had his own drama club. She graduated from Boston University, where she was a New England fencing champion but ultimately headed for the theater.
She often spoke about people in the street shouting lines from some of her most well-known movies, the most beloved of which was “Moonstruck.”
” ‘Olympia Dukakis’ delivery of ‘Old man, you give those dogs another piece of my food and I’m gonna kick you till you’re dead’ to her father-in-law in Moonstruck lives in my head rent-free,” read one of many tweets about Dukakis following her death.
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