‘One of a kind’: Dolly, Cher mourn ‘Moonstruck’ actress Olympia Dukakis

May 04, 2021
Cher pictured with 'Moonstruck' co-star Olympia Dukakis. Source: Getty

Tributes from across Hollywood and the world are flooding in for Moonstruck actress Olympia Dukakis, who passed away at the age of 89 on Saturday.

The cause of the veteran stage and screen actress’ death has not yet been released, however, her brother Apollo Dukakis wrote in a Facebook post that “after many months of failing health, she is finally at peace and with her [late husband, actor] Louis [Zorich, who passed away in 2018]”.

Starting her illustrious career in the theatre, Dukakis received multiple accolades for her Broadway performances before moving into the worlds of cinema and television. In 1988, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her turn as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck.

In 1989, Dukakis then took on the role of Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias, and in 1993 played Anna Madrigal in the PBS miniseries Tales of the City. She most recently played the same role in Netflix’s Tales of the City revival in 2019.

Following the sad news of her passing, stars flocked to their social media pages to express their grief and pay their respects.

Fellow Moonstruck star Cher, 74, took to Twitter to pay tribute to her late co-star, saying that she’d recently spoken with Dukakis, who at the time was “weak but happy”. Cher shared a collection of photos showing Dukakis in loving embraces with her late husband Louis.

Steel Magnolias co-star, Dolly Parton, 75, shared a tribute on Twitter, saying that Dukakis was one of her “favourite people that [she has] ever known or worked with”.

“I was so sorry to hear that Olympia Dukakis had passed away,” she said. “I really got very close to her and felt like we were good friends. Even though I didn’t get to see her much, I thought of her often and knew that she was such a quality human being. She will be missed by her fans, her family, and those of us that were lucky enough to get to know her personally.”

Actress Sally Field, 74, who stared alongside Dukakis in Steel Magnolias, shared a short but meaningful tribute, calling the late actress “a gift”. She wrote on Twitter, “What can I say but I loved her? Everyone loved her. She was a gift… unique and talented and one of a kind. Rest in peace my friend Olympia.”

A host of other tributes flowed from around Hollywood, including a sweet message from Kirsty Alley, 70, who highlighted the fragility of life. “Oh my… Olympia Dukakis has passed away… She will forever be young in my mind and be my loving movie mother. When will I learn that people do not live forever & the time to engage is NOW?.. RIP,” she wrote.

Actor Michael McKean, 73, who studied acting under Dukakis at New York University also expressed his sadness over the loss and shared some important lessons he had learnt from her.

“Olympia Dukakis was a great actress, who loved the work and loved the theatre. She was the acting teacher who spoke to me (and many, many others) with clarity and humour and NO censor,” he wrote. “She would tell us: don’t forget that the reason you wanted to do this was that it looked like fun. And it is. Amid the sweat and the angst, don’t forget the fun. Rest in peace, Olympia.”

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