Olympia Dukakis, the veteran actress with over 200 roles in stage, film and television production, has passed away. The beloved actress, perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning role in Moonstruck (1987), passed away Saturday morning, according to a Facebook post by her brother Apollo Dukakis. No cause of death has been given, but Apollo notes that Olympia has been suffering for months. She was 89 years old.
“My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, died this morning in New York City, “wrote Apollo, including a picture of Olympia.” After many months of poor health, she is finally at peace with her Louis. “
Apollo refers to Louis Zorich, Olympia’s late husband who passed away years ago; The couple had been married since 1962 and had three children together. Zorich was also an actor famous for playing Burt Buchman, the father of Paul Reiser’s Paul Buchman, on the 1990s sitcom Mad About You. He has also appeared on numerous projects with Dukakis and has collaborated frequently over the years. Unfortunately, Zorich died in 2018 at the age of 93.
Dukakis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1931. He studied physiotherapy and later earned a Masters of Fine Arts from Boston University. By the mid-1960s, she had shifted her focus to show business and brought her acting talents to the stage. In 1963 she received an Obie Award for Best Actress for her off-Broadway appearance in Man Equals Man, one of more than 130 stage productions she has worked on.
After Dukakis’ success on stage, he began to take on roles in various films in the 1960s and 1970s, including Brian De Palma’s sisters alongside Margot Kidder; the Charles Bronson action film Death Wish; and the classic comedy National Lampoon Goes to the Movies. During this time, the actress also appeared on television, taking on roles in classic shows such as Breaking Away, One of the Boys, and American Playhouse.
Perhaps Olivia’s greatest role as Rose Castorini was in Moonstruck, the critically acclaimed romantic comedy that also starred Cher and Nicolas Cage. Her performance earned Dukakis tremendous recognition which resulted in a huge win for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards along with a Golden Globe Award. The film also recorded Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress for Cher.
Other films in Dukakis’ work include roles in such films as Steel Magnolias, The Naked Gun 33: The Final Insult, Mr. Hollands Opus and Look Who’s Talking. Her television work includes titles like The Equalizer, The Simpsons, Frasier and Sex & Violence. She received Emmy nominations for roles in Joan of Arc, Sinatra, More Tales of the City, and the television movie Lucky Day. Dukakis was also the subject of Harry Mavromichalis’ acclaimed documentary Olympia, which documented her life and career. The film was released last year.
The actress, activist and philanthropist was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. This is just a small way to keep Dukaki’s legacy alive forever, even if the beloved actress is no longer with us. Our thoughts go to the family during this difficult time. May she rest in peace. This message comes from Apollo Dukakis.