Friday, August 9, 2013

To Absent Friends: Karen Black

Actress Karen Black passed away yesterday, a victim of cancer at the age of 74.  

I remember her as an actress who starred in several big movies in the 1970's, most notably "Five Easy Pieces" (she was sitting in the booth with Jack Nicholson when he tried to order a sandwich at the diner), "Nashville", and Alfred Hitchcock's last movie, "Family Plot".  I remember finding her oddly sexy in a kind of kooky way (see picture below).  I also recall that she was very hot at one time, but if you'd have asked me six months ago, I couldn't have told you anything that she did in recent memory.

As is often the case, however, her obituary in this morning's paper made for interesting reading. Yes, she was very hot back in the 1970's, and her work garnered her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award Nomination.  However, she also starred in a movie called "Day of the Locust" in 1975 that bombed, and she blamed the failure of that movie for pretty much ruining her career as a capital M, capital S Movie Star.

However, and this is what fascinates me, while she may no longer have been an above-the-title-actress/star, she never stopped working.  The obit stated that she appeared in over 100 movies and many, many other TV shows.  The Internet Movie Data Base gives her "actress credits" for 194 roles in films and TV shows, including three movies made in 2013. Granted, many of these movies are ones that you have never heard of, and could probably be classified as pure schlock, but she always had a part to play, right up to the very end, and isn't that all that any actor wants?

RIP Karen Black.

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