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Eileen Brennan Dies At 80: 5 Things To Know About The Late Actress

Wed, July 31, 2013 10:31am EDT by 2 Comments
Eileen Brennan Dies
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Sadly, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress passed away on July 28. To honor Eileen, we’ve come up with a list of FIVE things you must know about the veteran actress.

Eileen Brennan died on July 28 at the age of 80 due to complications from bladder cancer. Here at, we’ve compiled a list of things you MUST know about the legendary film, television, and stage actress.

Eileen Brennan Dies — 5 Things You Need To Know About The Actress

1. Her award-winning role in Private Benjamin

Eileen hit comedy gold as the strict drill captain Doreen Lewis, who fiercely puts down Goldie Hawn, in the 1980 box-office hit Private Benjamin. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role. She reprised her popular character in the television version and won a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy.

2. She started her career in theater

After moving to New York, she got her break in the business as the lead in the off-Broadway operetta Little Mary Sunshine. She didn’t want to be typecasted as just a singing comedienne, so she took on the role of Anne Sullivan in a major touring production of The Miracle Worker in 1961.

3. She was critically injured in a car accident in 1982

After dinner with her Private Benjamin co-star Goldie, Eileen was hit and severely injured by a car while crossing the street in Venice, California.

4. Her Golden Girls roommate

While she was studying at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Eileen shared an apartment with Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan.

5. Her roles on hit TV shows

Eileen had recurring roles on 7th Heaven and Will & Grace. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role as the sarcastic acting coach on Will & Grace in 2004. She also guest-starred on Lizzie McGuire in 2003.

Eileen had a long and wonderful career, encompassing film, television, and theater. She will be deeply missed.

— Avery Thompson

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