Verna Bloom, whose memorable turn as Marion Wormer in the 1979 comedy classic Animal House saw her immortalize cucumber innuendo, has died. She passed Wednesday in Bar Harbor, Maine from dementia complications, according to a family spokesperson.
Bloom had a long career in film, television and on the stage, spanning a wide range of roles in drama and comedy. She made her film debut in Medium Cool as a single mother mixed up in the violence of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. She also worked with Martin Scorsese in the comedy After Hours; played Mary in the The Last Temptation of Christ; was the lover of Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter (1973) and again joined him in Honkytonk Man.
Perhaps her most memorable film role was Marion Wormer, the boozy but sexy wife of Faber College Dean Vernon Wormer in Animal House. Approached in the supermarket vegetable isle by Tim Matheson’s BMOC Otter, they exchanged thinly veiled statements on cucumbers before engaging in a brief affair.
Born on Aug. 7, 1938 in Lynn, Massachusetts, Bloom graduated from Boston University in 1959. There followed a move to Denver, where she founded a local theater and produced local productions of Look Back in Anger and A Taste of Honey.
That led her to New York and Broadway, where she debuted in 1967’s The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade (more commonly known as Marat/Sade).
On television, Bloom was the mother of Linda Blair’s character in the 1975 NBC TV movie Sarah T. — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, and later played the wife of Frank Sinatra in 1977’s Contract on Cherry Street, another NBC movie drama.
Survivors include her husband Jay Cocks, a former film critic and two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter (Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York); and a son, Sam.