Steel Magnolias and Moonstruck Star Olympia Dukakis Dead at 89

Olympia Dukakis, who took home the Academy Award for Moonstruck , has died.

By Kaitlin Reilly May 01, 2021 8:47 PMTags
Watch: "Steel Magnolias" Actress Olympia Dukakis Dies at Age 89

Actress Olympia Dukakis has died. She was 89. 

The star's sister Apollo Dukakis confirmed the news in a May 1 Facebook post. "My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City," she wrote on the social media platform. "After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [late husband Louis Zorich]."

Allison Levy, her agent, also confirmed Olympia's death to NBC News.

Olympia, who married the Fiddler on the Roof actor in 1962, began her film and TV career in the '60s. She took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as the Golden Globe for her 1987 role in Moonstruck, opposite Cher and Nicolas Cage.

Other notable films include Steel MagnoliasLook Who's TalkingMighty Aphrodite and Mr. Holland's Opus. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the TV film Sinatra, in which she portrayed Frank Sinatra's mother Dolly. The actress also received much acclaim for her performance in the miniseries Tales of the City and its follow-up, More Tales of the City

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In 2003, Olympia wrote the book Ask Me Again Tomorrow, which detailed her personal and professional life.

She was the subject of the 2018 documentary Olympia. Directed by Harry Mavromichalis, the film chronicled the star's career and the ways in which she carved her own path in the industry, which included her opening her own theater company in Montclair, New Jersey.


The Academy shared a message about Olympia's passing to Twitter, writing, "Olympia Dukakis brought warmth, humor and wit to the stage and screen for almost 60 years, including a stellar run of unforgettable roles in 'Steel Magnolias' 'Tales of the City"' and 'Moonstruck,' for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She will be missed."

Dolly Parton, who worked with Olympia on Steel Magnolias, told E! News in a statement, "I was so sorry to hear that Olympia Dukakis had passed away. She has been one of my favorite people that I have ever known or worked with. I really got very close to her and felt like we were good friends. Even though I didn't get to see her much, I thought of her often and knew that she was such a quality human being. She will be missed by her fans, her family, and those of us that were lucky enough to get to know her personally."

In addition, Sally Field, who also co-starred in Steel Magnolias, said in a statement shared with E! News, "What can I say but I loved her? Everyone loved her. She was a gift... unique and talented and one of a kind. Rest in peace, my friend Olympia." 

Stars also paid tribute to Olympia on social media with heartwarming messages.

Cher, who Moonstruck co-star, posted, "Olympia Dukakis Was an Amazing, Academy Award-Winning Actress. Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck,& Even Though Her Part was
That Of a Suffering Wife, We Face with tears of joy ALL The Time. She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis, Her 'Handsome Talented, Husband.' I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One."

Star Trek alum George Takei wrote, "Olympia Dukakis has departed our company. We were Moonstruck by her, as she told us great Tales of the City. A true Steel Magnolia within a more common forest. Ah, what a life force, her later years her best. Rest now among the heavens, Olympia."

Viola Davis shared, "RIP Olympia Dukakis...the consummate actor. You made all around you step up their game. A joy to work with. Rest well. 'May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.'"

Actress Betty Buckley wrote, "So very sad to hear this. Olympia Dukakis, such a wonderful actress & beautiful person."

Comedian Titus shared, "Some movies you watch because of an actor in it. You don't need to know what it's about, what genre, you just know, because that actor is in it, it's going to be good. Olympia Dukakis was one of those actors, RIP."