Olympia Dukakis: A Life in Pictures

We remember and honor the legacy and acting career of "Moonstruck" and "Steel Magnolias" star, and Oscar-winner, Olympia Dukakis.

Matt Lissauer

By Matt Lissauer

Olympia Dukakis in "Moonstruck."

© MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

Over the weekend we received the sad news that Oscar-winner and Massachusetts-native, Olympia Dukakis, passed away.

Dukakis is best known for her role as Cher's fussy mother, Rose Castorini, in Norman Jewison's 1987 rom-com "Moonstruck." The highly praised performance landed her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. It was even apparent during filming that Dukakis was going to win the Oscar. But Dukakis didn't believe Jewison's prediction until she won. The role changed her life and led to a long career on the big screen.

In 1988, she played the equally-feisty Clairee in the salon-set rom-com "Steel Magnolias." This role also captured the attention of critics and audiences. Other memorable movie roles include turns in "Working Girl," "Look Who's Talking," "Mighty Aphrodite," and "Mr. Holland's Opus." Dukakis was also recently the subject of an in-depth documentary from filmmaker Harry Mavromichalis, titled "Olympia."

Dukakis was an equally prolific actress on the small screen. She notably reprised the role of transgender landlady Anna Madrigal four times in various versions of the miniseries "Tales of the City." The most recent version is currently streaming on Netflix.

Many celebrities and contemporaries tweeted out their regrets on hearing the news of her passing. But, perhaps her life is best summed up by this tweet from George Takei:

"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." – George Takei

We honor the late actress with a selection of photos and a look back at her career.

MOONSTRUCK, Olympia Dukakis, 1987
STEEL MAGNOLIAS, from left: Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, 1989.
LOOK WHO'S TALKING NOW, form left: Olympia Dukakis, Kirstie Alley, 1993.
DAY ON FIRE, Olympia Dukakis, 2006.
OVER THE HILL, from left: Sigrid Thornton, Olympia Dukakis, 1992.
MOONSTRUCK, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, 1987.
BETTER LIVING, Olympia Dukakis, Roy Scheider, 1998.
WORKING GIRL, from left: Olympia Dukakis, Joan Cusack, 1988.
DAD, Ted Danson, Olympia Dukakis, Kevin Spacey, 1989.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, 1989.
MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, Richard Dreyfuss, Olympia Dukakis, 1995.
THE CEMETERY CLUB, Olympia Dukakis, 1993.
OVER THE HILL, from left: Olympia Dukakis, Pippa Grandison, 1992.
CHANGE IN THE AIR, from left: Mary Beth Hurt, Olympia Dukakis, 2018.
THE INFILTRATOR, from left: Olympia Dukakis, Bryan Cranston, 2016.
AWAY FROM HER, Olympia Dukakis, 2006.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS, from left: Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, 1989.
EMILY & TIM, (aka OUTLIVING EMILY), from left: Louis Zorich, Olympia Dukakis, 2015.
OLYMPIA, Olympia Dukakis applying stage makeup, 2018.
OLYMPIA, Olympia Dukakis, 2018.

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About the Author

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.

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