Sadly, on Nov. 5th, 2010 actress and Broadway veteran Jill Clayburgh died in her home in Connecticut at 66. She died from lymphocytic leukemia after battling the disease for two decades. Clayburgh’s acting and Broadway career started in the 1960’s and she was among a first generation of actresses including Ellen Burstyn and Marsha Mason who played smart, capable, gritty and sometimes neurotic women, women emerging from the earliest feminist culture.
Nominated for an Oscar in 1978 for her lead role in “An Unmarried Woman,” Jill Clayburgh portrayed a Manhattan recent divorcee who explored life and her personal renewed sexuality after her failed marriage. In the 1970’s when feminism was beginning to be redefined, Clayburgh’s film “An Unmarried Woman” certainly played an important part in the movement.
“Starting Over” was another of Clayburgh’s successful comedy films where she starred with Burt Reynolds who was divorced, fell in love, but couldn’t seem to get over his ex-wife. This film won Clayburgh another Oscar nomination.
Younger audiences may best remember Clayburgh for her role as the mother in the Darling family on the ABC sitcom “Dirty Sexy Money” co-starring with Blair Underwood. “Dirty Sexy Money” ran for two years and ended last year. Clayburgh also made appearances in the Fox sitcom Ally McBeal, Ally’s mother.
You will have a chance to see Jill Clayburgh’s final performance in a movie she filmed in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2009. This film, “Love and other Drugs” is set for release in theatres Nov. 24. She will play the wife of George Segal and mother of two sons. Clayburgh only appears in the early scenes of the movie, which also star Anne Hathaway. Hathaway, in the film is an artist, who at 26 has early on-set Parkinson’s disease. Although Clayburgh’s role is brief in the film, it is a great chance to see her final performance.
Jill Clayburgh is survived by husband and playwright David Rabe, a daughter Lily Rabe, who is currently in the Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice; a son Michael; a stepson, Jason; and a brother, James. Prayers and thoughts go out to Mrs. Clayburgh’s family, friends, fans and collegues who loved her and enjoyed her career.
IMBD.com; Jill Clayburgh, Oscar-nominated actress and Broadway veteran, dies at 66