Olympia Dukakis, an Oscar-winning actress for her role in “Moonstruck,” died Saturday in New York City. She was 89 years old.
“After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis,” Apollo Dukakis posted on Facebook. Olympia Dukakis’ publicist, Allison Levy, also confirmed the death to CNN.
Although she had a stage career that spanned decades, Dukakis became best-known for her portrayal of Rose Castorini, the nosy-but-sensitive Italian mother in the 1987 film “Moonstruck,” stealing many scenes from Cher, who played her daughter. Dukakis and Cher both won Academy Awards for their performances.
Later roles included Clairee Belcher in the 1989 film “Steel Magnolias,” in which she encourages a grieving M’Lynn Eatenton, portrayed by Sally Field, to slap Shirley MacLaine’s character, saying, “Knock her lights out, M’Lynn!”
Dukakis passed away three years after the death of her husband, fellow actor Louis Zorich.
A native of Massachusetts, Dukakis was the first cousin of former state Gov. Michael Dukakis, who became the Democratic nominee for president in 1988, but ultimately lost to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.
Dukakis introduced her cousin at the Democratic National Convention, and also served as a delegate-at-large.