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Olympia Dukakis, the Oscar-winning actor, dies at 89

Olympia Dukakis, the Oscar-winning actor, has passed away at the age of 89.

Apollo Dukakis, the brother of the acclaimed actor, announced the news, confirming that Olympia Dukakis had been struggling with worsening health issues.

“My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City,” Apollo wrote in a statement issued to social media. “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace with her Louis.”

Dukakis, who appeared in well over 60 films and in 50 television series, is arguably best known for her performances in movies such as Steel Magnolias and Moonstruck, of which she earned victory at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor.

Since the announcement of her death, the tributes have poured in. “Olympia Dukakis was an amazing, Academy Award-winning actress,” Cher posted on Twitter. “Olympia played my mom in Moonstruck and even though her part was that of a suffering wife…all the time she would tell me how much she loved Louis, her ‘handsome talented husband’. I talked to her three weeks ago. Rip dear one.”

Adding to that sentiment, Star Trek actor George Takei added: “We were Moonstruck by her, as she told us great Tales of the City. A true Steel Magnolia within a more common forest. Ah, what a life force, her later years her best. Rest now among the heavens, Olympia.”

Michael McKean added: “Olympia Dukakis was a great actress who loved the work and loved the theatre. She was the acting teacher who spoke to me (and many, many others) with clarity and humour and NO censor. She would tell us: don’t forget that the reason you wanted to do this was that it looked like fun. And it is. Amid the sweat and the angst, don’t forget the fun. Rest in peace, Olympia.”

With such a meteoric rise to fame, Dukakis was often vocal in her struggles with the added attention. In an interview in 2001, she explained: “I had a difficult time with it. People said to me, ‘Oh, you’ve paid your dues.’ But so had a lot of people. And what about all those incredible plays I was in? To make a fuss about the Oscar felt like a betrayal.”

Adding: “Finally it occurred to me: maybe good fortune comes to you for the same reason as bad. It’s all about understanding more: you learn a lot of things when you’re struggling, and other things when you’re what the world calls successful. Or perhaps it’s just something that happens. Some days it’s cold and some days it hot.”

See the official announcement, below.

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.

Posted by Apollo Dukakis on Saturday, 1 May 2021