American actress / screenwriter / singer Karen Black has passed away. The Chicago, Illinois native is a 2 time Golden Globe winner (nominated 3 times) & Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actress died from ampullary cancer at the age of 74. Born Karen Blanche Ziegler she was of mixed German, Czech and Norwegian descent but took the last name of her first husband Charles Black.
Her film career began in 1959 with a small role in The Prime Time. She wrote and sang the theme song and supporting songs for The Pyx (1973). In 1970, Black appeared as Rayette, the waitress girlfriend of Jack Nicholson, in the film Five Easy Pieces, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She starred as Nancy Pryor, the stewardess who is forced to fly the plane, in the 1974 disaster film Airport 1975. That same year, she played multiple roles in the televised anthology film Trilogy of Terror. Black had leading roles for famed directors as an aspiring Hollywood actress in John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust, as a country singer in Robert Altman’s Nashville and as a kidnapper in what turned out to be Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, Family Plot. She also co-starred with Bette Davis in a horror film, Burnt Offerings. In April 2009, Black reunited with director Steve Balderson for Stuck! – an homage to film noir women-in-prison dramas. Black stars also in John Landis’ 2010 thriller, Some Guy Who Kills People. Later that year, Black appeared on Cass McCombs’ song “Dreams-Come-True-Girl” from the album Catacombs. She was also in Children Of The Corn IV – The gathering and played the mother in Rob Zombie’s directorial debut House Of A 1000 Corpses.
Black was married 4 times; her 4th was to Stephen Eckelberry, who she married in 1987 and has a daughter with. She also has a son from her 3rd marriage. Eckelberry was the first to report her death via Facebook.
Karen Black (July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013)