Skip to comments.'Easy Rider' actress Karen Black dead at 74
Posted on 08/09/2013 12:54:04 PM PDT by massmike
Karen Black, the prolific actress who appeared in more than 100 movies and was featured in such counterculture favorites as "Easy Rider," ''Five Easy Pieces" and "Nashville," has died in Los Angeles.
Known for her full lips and thick, wavy hair that seemed to change color from film to film, Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened. Her breakthrough was as a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969's "Easy Rider," the hippie classic that helped get her the role of Rayette Dipesto, a waitress who dates and is mistreated by an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970's "Five Easy Pieces."
In 1971, Black starred with Nicholson again in "Drive, He Said," which Nicholson also directed. Over the next few years, she worked with such top actors and directors as Richard Benjamin ("Portnoy's Complaint"), Robert Redford and Mia Farrow ("The Great Gatsby") and Charlton Heston ("Airport 1975").
Black also starred as a jewel thief in Alfred Hitchcock's last movie, "Family Plot," released in 1976.
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Loved her in “5 easy pieces.”
In her heyday, one of the sexiest redheads ever!
“Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” - she was terrific in this movie.
60’s & 70’s hotness...when we couldn’t see it, but just imagine it.
Just show ya - smoking kills!
She was great, and while this wasn’t Karen’s scene, it is the epitome of Jack Nicholson. The waitress was played by a woman named Lorna Thayer:
“Smokin’ hot legs!”
Yes, one of my all-time favorite scenes! It seems after this picture Jack had at least one scene in the next several movies where he “loses it.”
Burnt Offerings (along with the already mentioned Airport 75) is what I’ll most remember her for. I’m convinced that American Horror Story’s first season had to be inspired by it in part.
No dummy either...admitted to Northwestern at age 15
She died of an odd cancer. Periampullary cancer.
Periampullary cancer is a cancer that forms near the ampulla of Vater, an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine.
Karen Black was one of those actresses whose natural beauty, comic timing, sense of irony and professionalism was usually overlooked because she was distractingly, relentlessly beautiful. Karen handled complicated roles with ease and panache. Something about Karen reminds me of those esoteric, conceptual films by Andy Warhol, so popular in the 60’s, done best through Fellini’s films or the latter Swedish films of Ingmar Bergman; baroque, superficial and deeply moving all at once. Scarlet Johansson and Megan Fox remind me a little of her in today’s films.
capricorn 1 and airport.
I never thought she was beautiful. But she does star in the last film made by Hitchcock and she’s amazingly graceful in her slouch hat, raincoat and slacks. RIP, Miss Black.
She got to work with one of the masters of film. I just remembered name number three of who Karen reminds me of, the third actress would be the co-star of Thelma and Louise, Geena Davis. Geena does character parts well, she never found the perfect signature vehicle to make her a stand alone type star, as Pretty woman did this for Julia Roberts, Basic Instinct solidified the career of Sharon Stone (for better of worse). Cleopatra for Liz Taylor. Geena might be just fine with having been a ‘second tier’ type actress. She still has a very different, upper eschelon sort of life than most ‘normal people’ do, those who are not professional athletes or entertainers.
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