Olympia Dukakis has passed away at the age of 89. News of the Oscar winner’s passing was confirmed by her brother Apollo Dukakis, 85, via Facebook on Saturday, May 1. “My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City,” he wrote in his post. “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis,” the fellow actor wrote, including as gorgeous headshot of the Moonstruck actress. Learn more about Olympia here.
She was from Massachussetts
Olympia was born on June 20, 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts, where her parents immigrated from Greece. After high school, she went on to study physical therapy at Boston University, earning her Bachelor of Arts. Years later, she hit the books again, earning a Masters of Fine Arts in performing arts from the same university. During the polio epidemic, Olympia served as a physical therapist. During her acting career, Olympia kept a hand in the academic world as an instructor at New York University.
She’s Michael Dukakis’ cousin
Olympia is the cousin of politician, Michael Dukakis, 87. As a democrat, Michael ran in the 1988 Presidential run losing to President George H. W. Bush. He is best known as the Governor of Massachusetts, a role he held from 1975 to 1979, then again from 1983 to 1991 — making him the longest-serving governor in Massachusetts history.
She’s an Oscar winner
Olympia was a highly accomplished actress, winning an Oscar her supporting role in the 1987 hit Moonstruck as co-star Cher‘s mom. In the film, she played Italian mother Rose Castorini who inserts herself into her daughter’s romantic life after the death of her son-in-law. During her speech — which coincided with cousin Michael’s run — she took an opportunity to show her support. “OK, Michael, let’s go!” she said on stage with her Best Supporting Actress award up. “I want to thank the Academy, my husband…my friends, my colleagues, thank you very much,” the then 56-year-old also said in her speech. Olympia has also won Golden Globes and Emmys.
She has 3 children
Olympia married fellow actor Louis Zorich in 1962, and went on to have three children with him: daughter Christina, and sons Michael and Stefan. Olympia and Louis also worked together, co-founding The Whole Theatre Company in Montclair, New Jersey. The company ran from 1971 – 1990.
She’s appeared on Broadway
In addition to acting in countless movies and TV, she appeared in Broadway productions like Rose, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, and Social Security.