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Emmy Award-Winning Comedic Actress Eileen Brennan Dies at 80

Broadway's original Irene Malloy passed away at her home on Sunday.

Eileen Brennan in the original Broadway cast of Hello, Dolly! in 1964, courtesy of Masterworks Broadway.

Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, whose career spanned the mediums of television, film, and stage, passed away at her home in Burbank, California on Sunday, July 28 after a battle with bladder cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 80 years old.

Brennan began her career in the theater, starring in Rick Besoyan's off-Broadway musical/operetta Little Mary Sunshine in 1959 (for which she won a Theatre World Award) as well as its unofficial sequel, The Student Gypsy, which ran on Broadway in 1963. Shortly after she went on to originate the role of Irene Malloy in 1964 in the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing.

Brennan is best known for her role as the disapproving Captain Doreen Lewis in the 1980 comedy film Private Benjamin opposite Goldie Hawn, for which she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She later earned an Emmy Award reprising the role in the CBS series of the same name. Her additional film credits include The Sting, The Last Picture Show, Texasville, Daisy Miller, The Cheap Detective, Clue, among others. Her most notable television credits also include Emmy-nominated guest spots on Taxi and Will & Grace as well as a recurring role on the long-running drama series 7th Heaven.

She is survived by sons Sam and Patrick (an actor in Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2), as well as her daughter-in-law Jessica, sister Kate, and grandchildren Liam and Maggie.


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