The Five Easy Pieces Oscar nominee also known for such films Nashville and Alfred Hitchcock’s final pic Family Plot has died at 74. Karen Black recently had turned to crowdfunding to help with her long battle against cancer. Her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, confirmed Black’s death in a Facebook post: “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,” he wrote. “Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me.”
Black began her acting career in Off-Broadway shows before starring in three short-lived Main Stem productions from 1965-67. She also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1966 romantic dramedy You’re a Big Boy Now. Several late-’60s TV guest roles on such shows as The Big Valley and Adam-12 led to her casting in the 1969 counterculture classic Easy Rider. A year later she and Jack Nicholson, who’d also appeared in Easy Rider, landed their breakout roles in Five Easy Pieces. Black earned a supporting actress Oscar nom and won the Golden Globe and NBR Award. She would add a second Globe four years later for The Great Gatsby. Black starred in films throughout the ’70s, including Airport 1975, The Day of the Locust, Robert Altman’s Nashville, Family Plot and Burnt Offerings.In 1975 she also starred in the cult-classic ABC telepic Trilogy of Terror, playing four roles in the three segments. She continued to work in TV, film and theater for the rest of her life, even after being diagnosed with cancer. In March, she stated a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising $17,000 for a two-month treatment in Europe. She brought in more than double that amount in a single day and ultimately ended up raising more than $61,000. Last night, Eckelberry posted on the site, “The kind people at the Motion Picture Television Fund helped place her in a nursing facility, where she is now. The cancer is still spreading slowly and it takes its toll.”
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