Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Greg Goodsell

8/9/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Frequent face on movie and TV screens loses battle with cancer

With her ski nose and slightly crossed eyes, actress Karen Black was not what you would call conventionally pretty. Even more amazing was the fact that movie and TV cameras would not take their gaze away from her. Nominated as Jack Nicholson's girlfriend for "Five Easy Pieces," Black would go on to play a stewardess forced to commandeer a jumbo jet in"Airport '75;" a harried apartment dweller matching wits with a reanimated Zuni fetish doll in "Trilogy of Terror;" a loving wife who literally throws herself into her housework in "Burnt Offerings;" the role that this writer remembers her the most for, aspiring singer and dancer Faye Greener in "Day of the Locust." Black has lost her ongoing battle with cancer at the age of 74.

Actress Karen Black has lost her ongoing battle with cancer at the age of 74.

Actress Karen Black has lost her ongoing battle with cancer at the age of 74.

Highlights

By Greg Goodsell

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/9/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: Karen Black, actress, movies, TV, Five Easy Pieces, Jack Nicholson, cancer


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "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," her husband of 25 years, Stephen Eckelberry, wrote on Facebook. "Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me." Eckelberry was Black's fourth husband, with whom she had a daughter. Black is also survived by her son from her third husband, actor-screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson.

Hailing from Chicago, Black had her breakthrough role in "Easy Rider" after performing for almost ten years. It is in that counter-culture classic that Black played "Karen" one of two prostitutes that bikers Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper pick up.

Black then played the put-upon girlfriend of Jack Nicholson, who played a piano-playing prodigy disguised as an oilfield roughneck. The classic diner scene is remembered by all who have seen it. It was for this role that Black was nominated for an Academy Award.

"'Five Easy Pieces' was really my first real movie," Black said, unable to attend a New York tribute screening of "Easy Rider" due to illness last April. "There was "Easy Rider," but in this, I had the leading lady role. Jack was so validating, he gave me so much support...Jack and I had profound respect for one another. He's a great man."

Black was inescapable as an actress in Seventies American cinema. She appeared in more than 200 TV shows and movies over the course of her nearly six-decade acting career. Many memorable roles included the brassy Myrtle Wilson in the Robert Redford version of "The Great Gatsby," and had memorable roles in "Portnoy's Complaint" and "Nashville."  She also played a slinky kidnapper in Alfred Hitchcock's final film "Family Plot."

This writer's favorite Karen Black performance is the 1975 adaptation of Nathaniel West's "The Day of the Locust" lack plays a naďve want-to-be actress in Depression Era Hollywood. She tends to her ailing salesman father (Burgess Meredith) and then hooks up with shy, retiring accountant Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland) who sees as a "meal ticket." It all ends rather horribly .

Black would have a love-hate relationship with "Locust." When this writer approached her to autograph my "Day of the Locust" poster, she threw up her fingers in the sign of the cross, as if to ward off evil spirits. She later graciously autographed a photo of herself from that film, with one of her choice lines: "Hollywood parties - PUKE! Best to you, Greg."

Determined to work until she could no longer, Black took a few films that were beneath her talents. She was a frequent fixture on the Hollywood theater circuit.

"I would say that I have greatly enjoyed working in certain movies," Black told newspaper journalists. "And it's difficult for me to say that one has been better than another; it doesn't seem fair to me. I very much enjoyed doing 'Five Easy Pieces' as well as 'Nashville.' ...I have found a kind of serenity in working with Ivan Passer. And there are other wonderful experiences that I have had. So I am just very thankful for the life I have lived."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Movies

What is a miracle? New film aims to explain the unexplainable Watch

Image of idisciple.org

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA)

For both skeptics and believers, miracles have captivated people's attention for thousands of years. Swansea, United Kingdom (CNA) - That same intrigue led St. Anthony Communications to produce their latest film, 'Miracles.'The 35-minute documentary is the first of a ... continue reading


Film spotlights Hillsong UNITED's remarkable journey from a youth group band at Hillsong Church to a worldwide recording and concert sensation Watch

Image of

By Press Release

Pure Flix is distributing HILLSONG-LET HOPE RISE, the highly anticipated feature film that chronicles the spectacular and miraculous rise to prominence of the Australia-based band, Hillsong UNITED. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Directed by Michael John Warren ... continue reading


Witness the Coming of Christ...to virtual reality Watch

Image of The Story of Christ is coming to virtual reality for the first time (The Story of Christ).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Looking for a new way to immerse yourself in the story of Jesus Christ? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Engadget, virtual reality is an opportunity to fully engage an audience in a film like never before.Producers and directors are moving toward the ... continue reading


Jesus to reach 6.5 million more people? Watch

Image of The JESUS Film will reach millions more after being translated into eight new languages (Amazon).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Millions around the world have no idea who Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is - but now 6.5 million people will be able to learn about Christ in a way they can clearly understand. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - <a href=http://www.jesusfilm.org/>The JESUS Film ... continue reading


'He was a Primitive Baptist': Matthew McConaughey on new Bible-based film Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

According to actor Matthew McConaughey, his latest film "Free State of Jonas" is not just a historical film - it is also a Biblical one. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Free State of Jonas" centers around Newton Knight, who brings together a small band of farmers ... continue reading


Pope Pius IX portrayed in Steven Spielberg's latest film Watch

Image of Latest Spielberg movie features Pope Pius IX (WikiMedia Commons).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Steven Spielberg's latest film, "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara," will tell the true story of how a six-year-old's kidnapping relates to Pope Pius IX, the crumbling of the then Papacy and how Italy was unified through the culmination of events. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


True story behind 'Miracles From Heaven' Watch

Image of Annabel Beam shares story of how God cured her of lifelong illness (PA Real Life).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Annabel Beam was only 9-years-old when she fell down a hollowed-out tree and landed on her skull. Despite other horror stories in which spines were snapped and skulls were broken, Annabel emerged with a few scratches and a miracle: She was cured of a lifelong illness. ... continue reading


Star of 'God's Not Dead 2' opens up about powerful journey that led him to God Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Star of the upcoming feature film, "God's Not Dead 2," Jesse Metcalfe opens up about his journey to God and a better life. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Faith is really important to me," expressed Metcalfe during an interview with FOX411. "I really discovered a ... continue reading


What the Vatican paper has to say about 'Spotlight' and its Academy Award for Best Picture Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

The film Spotlight, which won the Oscar for best picture on Sunday, is a courageous movie that is not anti-Catholic, the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano said in two articles dedicated to comment on the Oscars. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Historian and journalist ... continue reading


Roman turns to Christ in new 'Risen' film Watch

Image of 'Risen' follows the story of a Roman soldier as he searches for Christ's body (risen-movie).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

New movie "Risen" follows a Roman soldier's search for Christ's body after His resurrection. Clavius, acted by Joseph Fiennes, must disprove "rumors" of a risen Messiah, but reveals a life-changing truth instead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Risen's" website ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:1-6
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh as follows,2 'Get ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 146:1-2, 2-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, my soul!2 I will praise Yahweh all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2016 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became ... Read More