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R.I.P. Karen Black (1939-2013)

R.I.P. Karen Black (1939-2013)

There are few actresses from the heady, wild days of American cinemas golden age of the 1970s who could count Robert Altman, Bob Rafelson, John Schlesinger, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and even Alfred Hitchcock as collaborators. But one who had all of their names (and more) on her CV was Karen Black, and she has passed away today at the age of 74.

After starting her career in television, Black emerged in 1969’s “Easy Rider,” the movie world took note, and she never looked back. She’d spend the next decade appearing in a number of seminal films — “Five Easy Pieces,” “Nashville,” “Family Plot,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Day Of The Locust” — earning accolades for her work. Her name even graces more underground faves like Nicholson’s directorial debut “Drive, He Said” and the Gene Hackman/Kris Kristofferson starring “Cisco Pike.” In terms of awards, she was recognized with a Best Actress nomination for “Five Easy Pieces,” while the Golden Globes not only gave her a statue for that film, but for ‘Gatsby’ as well, while she landed another nomination for ‘Locust.’ 

And while she had an illustrious start, the actress in her later years, became just as well known for her string of genre and horror flicks, appearing in films by folks like Rob Zombie and Alex Cox, and developing a cult following all her own. Sadly, Black had been battling cancer in recent months, and had even sought funds through crowdsourcing to help pay for her treatments. Her husband today revealed she had succumbed to bladder cancer. She will be greatly missed. [Variety]

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