Cult-film star Karen Black, from the counterculture classic Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces, which won her the Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, has died at 74 from cancer.
"It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend, Karen Black, has just passed away, only a few minutes ago," Stephen Eckelberry, her husband, wrote on Facebook. "Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me." Eckelberry goes on to describe the days leading up to Black's death, during which time they filmed a "deeply moving and candid conversation" between the star and friend Elliot Mintz. The publicist has worked with the likes of John Lennon, Diana Ross and Don Johnson. The footage was also described as emotionally "raw." A release date has not been announced at this time.
Black's distinctive appearance won her a variety of eclectic character roles, most of them hard-edged figures on the fringe. Horror fans know and love her in Burnt Offerings
, where she apparently clashed with Bette Davis behind the scenes, and the beloved Trilogy of Terror
, which cemented her B-movie status, making her a cult icon.
She wasn't always necessarily happy about that, but Black elevated every role she took beyond mere schlock, into a bizarre artform. Check out this Charlie Rose interview with the actress from several years ago, and break out your VHS tapes tonight in her memory.