Karen Black Strange And Lovely, Dies at 74 film and TV actress.

Karen Black, an actress whose roles in several signature movies of the late Nineteen Sixties and ’70s included a prostitute who shared an LSD journey with the bikers performed by Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in “Simple Rider” and a waitress unhappily dedicated to the alienated musician performed by Jack Nicholson in “5 Simple Items,” died on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 74.

The trigger was issues of most cancers, her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, stated. Ms. Black’s battle with ampullary most cancers, an uncommon kind much like pancreatic most cancers, turned public in March when she and Mr. Eckelberry sought contributions on a fund-raising Website to pay for an experimental remedy.

Ms. Black started her profession as a stage ingénue, however, was by no means actually the ingénue on the display. A rangy, imperfect magnificence — her eyes have been set ever so barely off-kilter — she spent the higher a part of a decade as one of many films’ most vivid character actresses. At a time when the lady’s motion was surging, she not often performed the self-liberating girl — as did, say, Ellen Burstyn or Jill Clayburgh — however, she was usually a brassy, attention-grabbing presence in movies whose most important characters have been males.

In “Drive, He Stated” (1971), Mr. Nicholson’s directorial debut, she performed a school spouse in an affair with a school athlete (William Tepper). In “Portnoy’s Grievance” (1972), based mostly on Philip Roth’s darkish comedy in regards to the libidinous lifetime of a younger Jewish lawyer (Richard Benjamin), she performed his voracious gentile girlfriend, referred to as the Monkey. In “The Nice Gatsby” (1974), the widely dismissed model of Fitzgerald’s novel that starred Robert Redford, she was Myrtle Wilson, the crass, pathetic, and doomed paramour of Tom Buchanan (Bruce Dern).

In “Nashville” (1975), Robert Altman’s witty riff on superstar, politics, and nation music, she performed Connie White, a veteran singer with a cynical aggressive edge, a task for which she wrote and carried out her personal songs. And in “The Day of the Locust” (1975), John Schlesinger’s adaptation of Nathanael West’s Hollywood-as-hell novel, she was a central character, Faye Greener, a tricky, slatternly, aspiring star.

“Black brings to all her roles a freewheeling mixture of raunch and winsomeness,” Time journal wrote about her in 1975. “Generally she is kittenish. On different occasions, she has an overripe high quality that makes her appear to be the type of girl who will get her identify tattooed on sailors.”

Her different credit in that interval included the catastrophe movie “Airport 1975” (1974), through which she was a stewardess who took over the controls of a disabled aircraft; “Household Plot” (1976), Alfred Hitchcock’s closing movie, a wickedly comedian homicide thriller, through which she performed a kidnapper; and, considerably anomalously, “Rhinoceros” (1974), the display adaptation of Ionesco’s absurdist play.

Ms. Black was nominated for an Academy Award as greatest supporting actress for her efficiency in “5 Simple Items” as a tenderhearted girl who was out of her mental league along with her boyfriend, a gifted however offended and stressed pianist, and his intellectual household.


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