Karen Black, Acclaimed Film and Television Actress for 40 Years
Black became a film star in the early ’70s in films like Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces and went on to work widely in movies and television until the time of her passing.
Karen Black, an actress who rose to fame in the early 1970s in movies such as Easy RIder and Five Easy Pieces — for which she received an Oscar nomination — and worked widely in film and television for more than 40 years, died August 8, 2013, in Los Angeles. She was 74.
According to news reports, the cause was cancer.
Born in Illinois, Black attended Northwestern University for two years before moving to New York, where she studied acting in New York under Lee Strasberg. She began her career in the theater and debuted on Broadway in 1965 in The Playroom.
Two years later she was cast in You're a Big Boy Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the first of many renowned filmmakers she worked with in the ensuing years, including Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces), Robert Altman (Nashville), John Schlesinger (The Day of the Locust) and Alfred Hitchcock (Family Plot).
Other films of note included Drive, He Said, Portnoy's Complaint, Airport 75 and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
Black began working in television in the late 1960s and appeared in dozens of series, miniseries and made-for-TV movies thereafter. Early guest roles included episodes of such shows as The FBI, Run for Your Life, The Big Valley, Mannix, Adam-12 and The Name of the Game.
She garnered widespread attention for the 1975 telefilm Trilogy of Terror, in which she played the lead in three disturbing tales —one of them a woman tormented by a voodoo doll that comes to life in her home. The film acquired cult status and has remained popular to this day.
Although she continued to make features — including Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?, Caged Fear and House of 1,000 Corpses — much of her work from the 1980s onward was in television. Credits included Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice, In the Heat of the Night, Profiler, Party of Five and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Read more about Black's life and work at: