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    Eileen Brennan Dies at 80: Her 5 Essential Roles

    Eileen Brennan Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

    Think of Eileen Brennan and it's impossible not to immediately flash to one of her scene-stealing roles on the stage or screen, both big and small.

    The Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actress died Sunday at 80 after battling bladder cancer, but her husky voice and reliably solid presence, whether she was called upon for comedy, drama or musical theater (all were her forte, it seemed), live on.

    Here are five essential roles to remember Brennan by:

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    1. Capt. Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin: Brennan earned an Oscar nomination for putting Goldie Hawn through the ringer in the 1980 film and then won an Emmy when she reprised her role as the tough-as-nails Army captain in the short-lived series of the same name, starring Lorna Patterson as the starry-eyed Pvt. Judy Benjamin. "We have lost my old friend Eileen Brennan," Hawn tweeted today. "No one ever made me laugh more! Now I cry. Please keep singing darling from on high. Rest"

    2. Mrs. Peacock in Clue: Thanks to the trio of endings in the 1985 ensemble comedy, the dagger-bequeathed actress (who didn't wear a speck of blue in the film, for the record) got to play both a frazzled murder suspect and a killer. "Eileen Brennan was a brilliant actress, a tough & tender woman and a comic angel; RIP, pal. #irreplaceable," tweeted Michael McKean, who played Mr. Green in the based-on-the-board-game film.

    3. Betty DeBoop, The Cheap Detective: While not a traditional Hollywood beauty, Brennan still oozed sex appeal, mainly by always seeming like the most fun dame in the room. Brennan muddles her way through "La Vie en Rose" in this 1978 caper flick, which stars just about everyone and reunited her with Murder by Death costar Peter Falk. She would also reteam with Madeline Kahn seven years later for Clue.

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    4. Billie, The Sting: Movies were more of a "class joint" when Brennan was involved. She matched wits with Paul Newman and Robert Redford as confidante to Newman's conman, Henry Gondorff, in the caper flick, the 1974 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

    5. Zandra, Will & Grace: Brennan earned her seventh Emmy nomination for her guest arc as Jack's (Sean Hayes) eccentric acting teacher. "So sad to hear of Eileen Brennan's death," Hayes tweeted. "She was hilarious to work with on W&G. She always made me laugh during my scenes with her."

    She also popped up over the years on shows such as Taxi, Newhart, thirtysomething, Blossom, 7th Heaven, ERWalker, Texas Ranger, Home Improvement, Tales From the Crypt and Murder She Wrote.

    But of course this is only a sampling from Brennan's long career. Share your favorite memories of the actress right here!

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