Movies | May 1, 2021 5:54 pm

Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-Winning Actress, Dead at 89

Her Oscar was for her role in "Moonstruck"

Olympia Dukakis
Actress Olympia Dukakis of the film "Away From Her" poses for portraits during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006.
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Over the course of her long career, Olympia Dukakis embodied a host of memorable roles, impressing filmgoers with her her work in films like Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias and Away From Her. The New York Times reports that Dukakis died earlier today at her New York home at the age of 89. She leaves behind a stunning and storied career abounding with triumphs on stage and screen alike — including a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her work in Moonstruck.

Over the course of her career, Dukakis worked with an impressive array of writers and directors. In their obituary of her, the Times notes how Dukakis’s performance onstage in Christopher Durang’s play The Marriage of Betty and Boo led to a series of roles in high-profile work from Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron and Norman Jewison.

Mark Harris, whose recent biography of Nichols debuted to fine reviews, shared a memory of interviewing Dukakis for his book. “[T]he memory I will cherish from that afternoon is the degree to which Olympia Dukakis summoned herself to give a performance,” he said via a Twitter thread. “It wasn’t enough for her to tell the story she wanted to tell. She wanted to act it.”

As news of her death spread, a number of her colleagues took to social media to share memories of working with her. Bradley Whitford called her “[a]n actor’s actor,” while Viola Davis shared her own experience of acting with Dukakis. “You made all around you step up their game,” Davis wrote. “A joy to work with. Rest well.”