Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Greg Goodsell

8/9/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Movies

Does disaster film 'San Andreas' prophesize the destruction of California? Watch

Image of The likelihood of a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has risen from about 4.7 percent to around seven percent.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They say everyone enjoys an apocalyptic future, as they require nothing from us. Overall, audiences have bypassed the hopeful, utopian "Tomorrowland" for "Mad Max Fury Road" and now "San Andreas," which depicts the destruction of California by a series of ... continue reading


What are filmmakers getting wrong with Bible-based movies? The universal story may not be so universal Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hollywood has released a lot of movies centered on Christianity and the Bible's stories during 2014. Some of them were well-received by Christians and even film critics, while some of the movies received negative, cold responses, especially from those who subscribe to ... continue reading


Filmmakers of 'Little Boy' receive mixed reviews -- audience approves, film critics are not convince Watch

Image of Little Boy is a movie about a young boy desperate to bring his father home for WWII.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rotten Tomatoes gave the newly released movie, "Little Boy" a low rating, viewing it as rather unconvincing for fans, the filmmakers and some of the professional film critics. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - However, the movie was given positive approval ... continue reading


New 'Star Wars' trailer features plenty of surprises for fans Watch

Image of John Boyega, who left a lasting impression as the hero in the 2011 British horror film,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"The force - is back," and the new trailer in the "Stars Wars" installment, "Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens" packs quite a few surprises. Due to hit theaters during Christmas this year, the trailer's unveiling was attended by many actors in the ... continue reading


Empire of the Cross; Layers of Our Faith Watch

Image of

By Caitlin Bootsma

If you've ever visited Rome and had a sense of deja vu or that you were somehow "home", you wouldn't be the only one. Many Catholics feel this connection to the Eternal City, despite not having a drop of Italian blood in them. This feeling is reinforced by stumbling ... continue reading


Amazing documentary 'Planet Earth' plans sequel to uncover the unknown wilderness Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When the documentary series "Planet Earth" was shown on TV, a lot of people changed the way they see Mother Earth. The good news is, there is now going to be a sequel to the widely accepted film. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The downside, though, is it ... continue reading


Are movies encouraging kids to drink? New study shows relationship between 'boozy films' and teen drinking habits Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Research shows  a strong relationship between the drinking habits of teenagers and the choices of movies they watch. Young people are found to be more likely to consume and binge drink if they are into movies that feature the notable characters drinking alcohol. ... continue reading


Faith, hope and love: 'Little Boy' is movie for entire family Watch

Image of A motion picture intended to send audiences home with smiles on their faces,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A motion picture intended to send audiences home with smiles on their faces, "Little Boy," is a new World War II-era feature film. The story involves a 7-year-old child (Jakob Salvati) who wants his father to come home from battle. Promising to inspire ... continue reading


Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iTunes promise lots of entertainment for month of April Watch

Image of Streaming original content, such as the superhero film

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spring is in the air and streaming movies, TV shows and specials will be here to greet the sunnier season. Streaming original content, such as the superhero film "Marvel's Daredevil" will be the month's main draws. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - From ... continue reading


Late actor Paul Walker lives again - thanks to digital technology Watch

Image of Universal Pictures was able to complete its April 3 tent pole,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Actor Paul Walker, whose life was taken in a horrific traffic accident two years ago, will have the opportunity to live again - dying during the production of "Fast and Furious 7," Walker's scenes will be completed with digital technology. While this will ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 44:1, 9-13
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2015 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle worker. He was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter