Friday, August 9, 2013

KAREN BLACK, R.I.P.


Karen Black, famed character actress who appeared in legendary counterculture movies EASY RIDER and FIVE EASY PIECES, died yesterday at age 74 from a rare type of cancer.

Black will be remembered by genre fans for her roles in Hitchcock's FAMILY PLOT, 70s TV movie TRILOGY OF TERROR and my favorite, BURNT OFFERINGS where she played alongside Oliver Reed as the psychological pawn of the malevolent Mrs. Allardice. She appeared in many other cult and horror films such as the INVADERS FROM MARS remake, IT"S ALIVE III, and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES.

Here is an excerpt of her bio from the L.A. Times:

"Karen Blanche Ziegler was born July 1, 1939, in Park Ridge, Ill. Her father, Norman, was a businessman; her mother, the former Elsie Reif, was a writer. Black — who took the name of her first husband, Charles Black — attended Northwestern University after high school and soon after headed for New York.

She took classes with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio and had a number of off-Broadway roles, before attracting the notice of critics for her first Broadway appearance in the 1965 thriller "The Playroom." Work in television and films soon followed.

She remained active throughout her career, although her later roles were often in horror and science fiction movies, which earned her a cult following. In the 1990s, she appeared mainly amused when a New York-based glam punk band paid homage to her, calling itself The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Black, who also wrote plays and appeared in one-woman cabaret shows, was a longtime adherent of the Church of Scientology, telling the Chicago Tribune in 2008, "It just works for me."

Her first three marriages ended in divorce. She married Eckelberry, a film editor and producer, in 1987. He survives her, along with their daughter, Celine; Black's son, Hunter Carson, from her third marriage; another daughter, Diane Koehnemann Bay, from her relationship with Robert Benedetti; her sister, Gail Dugan, an actress who was known professionally as Gail Brown; a brother, Peter Ziegler; and grandchildren.?

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