KAREN BLACK DEAD
“FIVE EASY PIECES”, “EASY RIDER” Hollywood legend KAREN BLACK gone at 74.
Her husband made the sad announcement via Facebook .
Black was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010 and had one-third of her pancreas removed. She had two more operations this year to minimize the cancer, and her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, said she was “mostly bed-bound” and down to 96 pounds from 156.
The couple turned to a crowd-funding website and raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for an experimental treatment in Europe, The Hollywood Reporter said.
Born Karen Blanche Ziegler in Park Ridge, Ill., on July 1, 1939, she dropped out of high school to marry but soon divorced. At 15, she enrolled at Northwestern University to study drama.
Moving to New York, she first made critics stand up and cheer by appearing in several of Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare Festival in Central Park.
In the mid-’60s, Black moved to Los Angeles and landed a plum role in Francis Ford Coppola's You’re a Big Boy Now.
Black earned an Oscar nom for her role as a prostitute in Easy Rider (1969), where she, Dennis Hooper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson dropped LSD in a New Orleans cemetery.
Karen garnered another nom for best supporting actress for Five Easy Pieces (1970).
Black was also part of the Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975), where she composed and performed two songs for the film, “Memphis” and “Rolling Stone” scoring her a Grammy nom.
Black’s career peaked in the mid-’70s when she co-starred in Airport 1975 (with Charlton Heston) as a stewardess forced to fly a 747 jumbo jet. She then toplined in The Day of the Locust (1975), based on Nathaniel West’s venomous tale of Tinsel Town.
She also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's last film, Family Plot (1976).
In 1975, she starred as several characters in sections of Richard Matheson's Trilogy of Terror, an ABC movie of the week that was a series TV pliot. Most memorably, Karen was menaced by the toothy African miniature Zuni hunting fetish.
Among Black’s horror genre flicks included Burnt Offerings (1976) with Bette Davis and Oliver Reed, It’s Alive III (1987), Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996) and House of 1000 Corpses (2003) with Sid Haig.
Among her many many TV guest appearances she visited The Big Valley, Mannix, Adam-12, Murder, She Wrote, Family Guy and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Black had four husbands, including fellow Trilogy of Terror actor Robert Burton and writer L.M. (Kit) Carson, with whom she had a son, Hunter, who appeared with his mom in the remake of Invaders From Mars (1987).