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December 01, 2005

Actress Wendie Jo Sperber Dies of Breast Cancer


Comedy Veteran Seen on Series from Bosom Buddies to
8 Simple Rules
Founded Cancer Support Center


Wendie Jo Sperber, TV/film actress, cancer care advocate and founder of the weSPARK center in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Los Angeles, CA Actress Wendie Jo Sperber, who played a recurring role on ABC's 8 Simple Rules and is perhaps best known for starring with Tom Hanks on the television series Bosom Buddies, died at her home Tuesday after an eight-year battle with breast cancer. She was 46.

Sperber approached her cancer diagnosis with the zeal and energy she brought to her years of heavily comedic work.  The actress—whose credits include series Will & Grace and Murphy Brown, all three Back to the Future theatricals, Steven Spielberg's 1941, Robert Zemeckis' I Wanna Hold Your Hand and more—founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center of Sherman Oaks in 2001.

The weSPARK organization offers a variety of free programs, services and social events to individuals and families whose lives have been affected by cancer. "SPARK" is an acronym for "Support, Prevention, Acceptance, Recovery and Knowledge."

Sperber sought to establish "a home-like setting" for those seeking emotional support and information resources, forging ahead with great support from her community and friends such as Hanks, one of weSPARK's founders.

In a statement yesterday, Hanks said that Sperber met the challenges of her illness with love, cheer, joy and altruism. "The memory of Wendie Jo is that of a walking inspiration," Hanks said. "We are going to miss her as surely as we are all better for knowing her."

In 1998, Sperber helped the U.S. Postal Service unveil the breast cancer stamp.  The Los Angeles native and advocate was later named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women in 1999.

Sperber is survived by her son and daughter, her parents, two sisters, her brother and weSPARK.

Please visit www.wespark.org to learn how to volunteer, make a donation or obtain services.

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