Eileen Brennan, Emmy- and Oscar-Nominated Actress
Brennan received seven Primetime Emmy nominations and one Oscar nomination in a career that spanned 50 years. She won an Emmy in 1981 for the comedy series Private Benjamin, based on the hit film for which she received her Oscar nomination.
Eileen Brennan, an actress known for numerous popular films and television series, from The Last Picture Show to Will & Grace, died July 28, 2013, in Burbank, California. She was 80.
According to news reports, the cause was bladder cancer.
A familiar face in movies and TV series from the late 1960s to the present, Brennan received an
Oscar nomination for best supporting actress in the 1980 comedy Private Benjamin (1980). She reprised the role in the CBS series based on the film, and won a Primetime Emmy for her performance. In all, she earned seven Emmy nominations.
A native of Los Angeles, Brennan was the daughter of silent-film actress Regina “Jeanne” Menehan. She got her start in theater and she appeared in the original 1964 production of the musical Hello, Dolly opposite Carol Channing.
She made her TV debut in the telefilm The Star Wagon. In 1968 she became a member of the comedic ensemble in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, which led to many other series appearances, including The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, All in the Family and McMillan & Wife.
Her first film was Divorce American Style in 1967, and four years later she shined in as a small-town Texas waitress in The Last Picture Show, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. She made three other movies with Bogdanovich: Daisy Miller, At Long Last Love and Texasville. Other memorable films included The Sting, Murder by Death, Scarecrow and Clue.
Her many other television credits included guest roles in episodes of Kojak, Barnaby Jones, Taxi, Magnum P.I., The Love Boat, Newhart and thirtysomething. She was also a regular cast member of such shows as 13 Queens Boulevard, A New Kind of Family, Off the Rack, Blossom and All-New Dennis the Menace.
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