Share “RIP Eileen Brennan”

BAM's Blog!

NewsOK | BLOGS

RIP Eileen Brennan

by Brandy McDonnell Published: July 30, 2013
This March 20, 1982 file photo shows actress Eileen Brennan in Los Angeles. Brennan's manager, Kim Vasilakis, says Brennan, who is best known for playing Capt. Doreen Lewis in "Private Benjamin," died Sunday, July 28, 2013, in Burbank, Calif., after a battle with bladder cancer. She was 80. (AP)
This March 20, 1982 file photo shows actress Eileen Brennan in Los Angeles. Brennan's manager, Kim Vasilakis, says Brennan, who is best known for playing Capt. Doreen Lewis in "Private Benjamin," died Sunday, July 28, 2013, in Burbank, Calif., after a battle with bladder cancer. She was 80. (AP)

Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, known for her roles in “Private Benjamin,” “Clue” and “The Last Picture Show,” has died after a battle with bladder cancer. She was 80.

The Los Angeles native got her first big role on the New York stage in “Little Mary Sunshine,” a musical comedy that won her the 1960 Obie award for best actress, according to the Associated Press.

It was a series of sharp-tongued roles that won her fans on television and in movies, including gruff Army Capt. Doreen Lewis in 1980′s “Private Benjamin,” snobby Mrs. Peacock in 1985′s “Clue” and mean orphanage superintendent Miss Bannister in 1988′s “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.”

“I love meanies, and this goes back to Capt. Lewis in ‘Private Benjamin,’” Brennan said a 1988 interview with the AP. “You know why? Because they have no sense of humor. People who are mean or unkind or rigid — think about it — cannot laugh at themselves. If we can’t laugh at ourselves and the human condition, we’re going to be mean.”

“Private Benjamin” brought her a supporting actress nomination for an Oscar. She also won an Emmy for repeating her “Private Benjamin” role in the television version and was nominated six other times for guest roles on such shows as “Newhart,” ”thirtysomething,” ”Taxi” and “Will & Grace.”

Brennan’s “Private Benjamin” role led to an enduring friendship with Hawn, according to the AP. A couple of years after they filmed the movie, Brennan and Hawn had dinner one night in 1982 in Venice, Calif. As they left the restaurant, Brennan was struck by a car. Her legs were smashed, bones on the left side of her face were broken, her left eye socket was shattered. Brennan said she fought her injuries with rage.

Brennan became dependent on painkillers, and two years after the accident she entered the Betty Ford Center to cure her addiction.

“Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and respect for Eileen,” her family said in a statement. “She was funny and caring and truly one of a kind. Her strength and love will never be forgotten.”

She is survived by her two sons, Sam and Patrick Brennan. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and fans.

To read the full AP obituary, click here.

-BAM

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    This film with Oklahoma ties is already generating Oscar buzz
  2. 2
    Madeleine Albright Burns Conan O'Brien in Hilarious Twitter War
  3. 3
    NYPD officers seen discarding gloves, masks into garbage can near Ebola patient's apartment
  4. 4
    Senate Midterm Elections
  5. 5
    (NEW PHOTOS) Jennifer Lawrence buys 'romantic' home that Jessica Simpson sold last year
+ show more