Jill Clayburgh, an actress who helped pioneer change in Hollywood for women’s roles, died Friday after a prolonged 21 year battle with leukemia. She was surrounded by family in her Lakeville, Connecticut home.
Clayburgh was familiar to current viewers as the matriarch of the Darling family on ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money.” Letitia Darling was one in a long line of strong characters brought to life by Clayburgh whose career spanned 5 decades. Her work included television, the theater and numerous films, some of which earned her Oscar nominations. Here’s a look at some of her more memorable movies.
Portnoy’s Complaint (1972) This film was the first to garner serious attention for Clayburgh. Though a small role as one of the main character’s girlfriends, she makes the most of her screen time.
Silver Streak (1976) Clayburgh tried her hand at comedy alongside the first pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
Semi-Tough (1977) Adding a romantic comedy to her repertoire, Clayburgh is at the center of a love triangle involving her football playing roommates, played by Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson.
An Unmarried Woman (1978) Her Oscar nomination came as a result of her starring turn in this movie about a woman, divorced after years of the “perfect” marriage, who must forge a new life. Emotional and authentic, Clayburgh also won Best Actress at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.
Starting Over (1979) Pairing with Burt Reynolds again, Clayburgh earned her second Academy Award nomination by playing Marilyn Holmberg, the woman Reynolds’s character falls for after his divorce.
It’s My Turn (1980) A romantic comedy based on the hit song of the same name finds Clayburgh paired with Michael Douglas. The romance blossoms between Kate Gunzinger and Ben Lewin who is an ex-professional baseball player and the Kate’s step mother’s son, making the whole family scene even more complicated.
First Monday in October (1981) With her string of its hits intact, Clayburgh takes on the fictitious role of Ruth Loomis, the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court. She and fellow judge Daniel Snow, aptly played by Walter Matthau disagree on every case before them; sparking a dislike for one another until eventually they come to respect one another. Ironically the movie was in the works before the appointment of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court and the film was rushed to release to capitalize on the ground breaking event.
I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can (1982) The biography of valium addicted Barbara Gordon, a documentary filmmaker, lets Clayburgh explore new turf.
Where Are the Children (1986) Based on the sensational novel by Mary Higgins Clark, Clayburgh portrays Nancy Harmon, a married woman whose two children are abducted and later found murdered. Convicted of the crime and sentenced to die, Nancy is freed when her attorney is able to get the verdict overturned. Years later, living far away and now remarried with two young children, Nancy discovers her past has been plastered on the front page of newspaper. Rushing outside to retrieve her children, she finds only a mitten and realizes the nightmare is continuing.
Shy People (1987) Clayburgh is Diana Sullivan, a writer and photojournalist sent to do a piece on a lost branch of her family. When the New Yorker and her cocaine addicted daughter travel to the bayous of Louisiana, they are in for a shock. Cousin Ruth, who has been married to an abusive mans since she was 12, controls her 3 sons while the whereabouts of her husband and disowned 4th son ramp up the tensions in the film.
Sources: Personal Viewing, IMDB, Wikipedia, Yahoo News, E Online