Vale: Karen Black

By David Knox on August 9, 2013 / Filed Under News 10

2013-08-09_1116US actress Karen Black, best known for films including Five Easy Pieces, Nashville and telemovies, has died, aged 74.

Her husband Stephen Eckelberry announced her death on Facebook, saying “It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend Karen Black has just passed away, only a few minutes ago. Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me.”

LA Times reports she was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in 2010, and had sought help from the public earlier this year to cover the cost of her medical treatment. An appeal by her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, on a crowd-sourcing website raised more than $60,000.

Although she had a small part in Dennis Hopper’s groundbreaking 1969 counterculture movie, Easy Rider, Black was best known for her performance in Five Easy Pieces, the 1970 film as the girlfriend of Jack Nicholson’s character.

She also had roles in the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, The Day of the Locust in 1975 and two Robert Altman films, Nashville and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

TV credits included Mannix, Adam-12, In the Heat of the Night, Miami Vice, Murder She Wrote, The FBI, Run for your Life, Ghost Story, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and telemovies My Neighbor’s Daughter, Police Story: Confessions of a Lady Cop, Where the Ladies Go and The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver.

10 Comments »

  1. TVTALK August 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm -

    Andrew, I stand corrected. Another Airport fan in our midst – always good to know.

    And here’s some more classic K. Black dialogue from that epic adventure:

    “Something hit us! All the flight crew is dead or badly injured! There’s no one left to fly the plane! Help us! Oh my God, help us!”

  2. CyrusPK August 9, 2013 at 5:10 pm -

    Trilogy of Terror was undoubtedly her defining role/s.

    I have never seen an actress take a part and just run with it like she did in that film. I hope the obituaries in the next day or two recognise the importance of that masterwork.

  3. Andrew August 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm -

    @TVTALK: “How is it no one has mentioned Airport 75″ — Actually someone did :)

  4. PJs Ronin August 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm -

    I’m with those who best remembered Black from the Trilogy of Terror. The look in her eyes while slowly stabbing the knife into the floor was one of the most terrifying visions I have ever seen. No blood, no limbs being torn asunder, just those eyes. Scared the livin bejeezus outta me.

    Quality actor right there folks.

  5. deedeedragons August 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm -

    A great Scream Queen.

  6. TVTALK August 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm -

    How is it no one has mentioned Airport 75, a classic of the disaster genre in which she gave it her all?

    And how can we forget the immortal line – “Is the stewardess really flying the plane?”

  7. Goatracer August 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm -

    Definitely remember her from the 70’s early 80′ as the Queen of horror,those eyes were the most terrifying things on screen,sad to see her go.

  8. alfagirl August 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm -

    I will always remember her in Trilogy of Terror. I have always thought that “Chucky” was inspired by the knife wielding voodoo doll.

  9. Andrew August 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm -

    Karen Black also had an Australian connection. In 1978 she starred in telemovie Because He’s My Friend, produced by the ABC

    Although for me she is best remembered from Airport… I think Airport ’75

  10. callas August 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm -

    you forgot the classic ‘trilogy of terror’ tv movie from 1975 – i’ll never forget as a kid being scared of the closing scene of karen being possessed by that evil voodoo doll.

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