Eileen Heckart

Eileen Heckart
Associated Press


Eileen Heckart
Film: South side of the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born March 29, 1919 in Columbus, Ohio
Died Dec. 31, 2001 of lung cancer in Norwalk, CT

Eileen Heckart played the Oscar-winning role of overprotective mother to Edward Albert's blind character in love with kooky Goldie Hawn in "Butterflies Are Free."

She was also nominated for two Emmys for playing Aunt Flo Meredith, the globe-trotting international correspondent of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Lou Grant."

Although Heckart described herself as "anything but eccentric," she was usually cast as some sort of emotionally warped or distraught woman. This was thanks to her tall, lanky frame, sad eyes and foghorn voice—which she blamed more on childhood whooping cough than on her chain smoking—not to mention her facile ability to portray any character envisioned.

Repeatedly nominated for nearly every acting award, Heckart received a couple of Emmys, an Oscar, a Tony, as well as Outer Circle, New York Drama Critics, Drama Desk, Lortel, Daniel Blum and Obie awards.

Among the many plays in Heckart's long theater career were "Our Town," "They Knew What They Wanted," "A View From the Bridge," "Barefoot in the Park," "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running," "Mother Courage" (her favorite role), "Time of the Cuckoo," "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," "Love Letters" and "Driving Miss Daisy."

Her movies included "Hot Spell," starring Shirley Booth and Anthony Quinn; "Heller in Pink Tights," with Sophia Loren and Quinn; "Up the Down Staircase," with Sandy Dennis; "No Way to Treat a Lady," with Rod Steiger; "Zandy's Bride," starring Gene Hackman; "Heartbreak Ridge," with Clint Eastwood; "Seize the Day," with Robin Williams; and "The First Wives Club" (as Diane Keaton's mother).

On television, in addition to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Heckart joined the casts of such series as "Out of the Blue," "Trauma Center," "Partners in Crime," "The Five Mrs. Buchanans" and "Murder One." She also made guest appearances in many series, including "Gunsmoke" and "The Defenders," and in several television movies.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1956 Best Supporting Actress The Bad Seed Nomination
    1972 Best Supporting Actress Butterflies Are Free Win

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