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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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« May 2021 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

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This Recording

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Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
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The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Monday, May 10, 2021
/FILM LOOKS BACK AT 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE'
"AS MUCH A DE PALMA FILM AS A CRUISE FILM"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/mipremieremag.jpg

"As much fun as the film continues to be," states /Film's Josh Spiegel states in his look back at Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible, "its handling of Claire as…well, anything really, is its greatest miscue, and one that gets grosser with time, as in a moment near the end where Jim refers to his wife as 'the goods.'" Is this a weird FASHION OF THE DAY sort of criticism? "Gets grosser with time"?

A villain is a villain, and Jim Phelps is a particularly bitter and jealous one here. After quoting the Bible to Ethan Hunt, he (perhaps desperately) tries to dig it in that he purposely sent Claire to do the dirty work with Ethan. Whether Ethan is buying everything his mentor is trying to boast to him is another matter altogether. Calling it "gross" is perhaps this article's most questionable miscue.

Claire's involvement in the whole scheme is compellingly vague and mysterious, as she seems genuinely torn by competing impulses. Perhaps she's "living life at the gut level," with tragic consequences.

Aside from all that, an interesting look back at the film, I suppose. Here's an excerpt:

That’s the first 25 minutes of the tightly wound and constructed Mission: Impossible. But just as you might figure a film starring Tom Cruise – especially at this stage of his career – would really be about Tom Cruise, you might figure that a thriller directed by Brian de Palma has something up its sleeve. Just as it appears that the mission has gone off without a hitch, one by one, the members of the team are offed – by bomb, by knife, by strange sharp object descending from the top of an elevator. (Hasta lasagna, Emilio Estevez.) De Palma, the New Hollywood cohort of Coppola and Martin Scorsese (each of whom had directed Cruise a decade earlier), had long balanced his distinctive tendencies and influences, complex and often adult sensibilities, and mainstream success. So in the same vein as his being selected to direct the tense 1987 adaptation of another TV series, The Untouchables, De Palma got to try his hand at this one too, quickly making clear that the TV inspiration didn’t mean he wouldn’t make Mission: Impossible as much a De Palma film as a Cruise film.

So about 25 minutes into Mission: Impossible, the team of many turns into a team of one. The task at hand – recovering a list of undercover agents’ fake and real identities before the list gets into the hands of terrorist organizations around the globe – is completely ruined…until Ethan learns that the whole mission was a mole hunt to rifle out the sole survivor. The scene in which Ethan realizes he’s been set up as the IMF mole, and must go on the run to clear his name, is a perfect balance of Cruise’s sensibilities and De Palma’s. It’s a relatively simple back-and-forth, as supercilious CIA director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) lays out what seems like a pretty airtight case against our hero. But the dialogue, growing more suspenseful, is a buildup to a watery climax, as Ethan employs a useful gadget: a stick of gum that can be used as an explosive when smushed together, here detonating an explosion in a swanky Prague restaurant with aquariums aplenty so he can make his escape.

Some of the hallmarks of Brian De Palma’s work are absent from Mission: Impossible. It’s one of the least lurid films of his career, far less sexy (either intentionally or subtextually) in its depiction of a kinda/sorta love triangle between Jim, Ethan, and Jim’s wife Claire (Beart). As much fun as the film continues to be, its handling of Claire as…well, anything really, is its greatest miscue, and one that gets grosser with time, as in a moment near the end where Jim refers to his wife as “the goods.” But that scene with Ethan and Kittridge both visually and verbally, tracks with many of the helmer’s predilections. The true setup of the film, even as it favors Cruise, is a pitch-perfect way for De Palma to pay homage once again to Alfred Hitchcock; Ethan Hunt is the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time, accused of crimes he didn’t commit and forced to clear his name with increasing desperation. And the way De Palma films the scene is vintage, with the camera not only closing in on both Cruise’s and Czerny’s faces, but doing so via canted angle, as if the camera was placed at their feet, not over their shoulders.

Though Mission: Impossible is the rare PG-13-rated film in the director’s career (a few of his efforts, including Mission to Mars, were rated PG), the visual elements throughout the film mark this as a true De Palma effort. There are touches like the canted angles at the aquarium restaurant, split-diopter shots, and the constant use of disguises – not just a hallmark of the show, but of films like Phantom of the Paradise and Dressed to Kill. (And nowhere else in the franchise can you find the truly odd image of Tom Cruise in disguise as an old Southern-accented U.S. Senator arguing with political gadfly John McLaughlin.) And then, of course, there’s the centerpiece sequence of Mission: Impossible, in which Ethan, Claire and their new cohorts, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Franz Krieger (Jean Reno), break into the headquarters of the CIA to retrieve the real list of agent names and aliases right underneath the agency’s collective nose. That sequence takes place, as Ethan hisses while in an air vent, in “absolute silence.”

Each Mission: Impossible film has at least one truly indelible image in which Tom Cruise either re-cements his status as a movie star or tries to reshape it ever so slightly. There’s no doubt what that image is in the first film: it’s the sight of Ethan Hunt dropping spread-eagle to the floor of a highly secured CIA vault housing the aforementioned list of agent names. By holding out his arms and legs, it’s as if Ethan (by which it’s more accurate to say Cruise himself) can stop himself from hitting the ground by sheer force of will. Tom Cruise’s career is marked by images of him in movement, from sliding across the floor of his house in his skivvies to flying a fighter jet because he feels the need for speed. But Ethan’s ability to be relaxed and desperate all at once, in such a fraught situation, may be the most unforgettable image associated with the performer.

That piece of action goes hand in hand with Ethan’s explosive escape from the aquarium restaurant in establishing an important piece of the puzzle of this series: Tom Cruise doing his own stunts. On one hand, the stunts in this film don’t seem as death-defying as that of climbing up the side of the tallest building in the world or hanging on the wing of an in-flight airplane (as we will see in later films). But those stunts only became possible after Cruise dangled from a wire and literally saved his own hide by catching a bead of his sweat in a gloved hand. The sense of the thrilling is communicated here, as it is in the other films in the series, specifically because the audience is visually informed that an extremely famous person has put himself in harm’s way for entertainment.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 5:25 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 9, 2021
PAUL HIRSCH ON HERRMANN, ELFMAN, JOHN WILLIAMS
AND LexG's "BRIAN DE PALMA LIGHTNING ROUND" - PODCAST LINKS


In the latest episode of the Light The Fuse Podcast, Paul Hirsch talks briefly about almost working on Taxi Driver, and also several composers: Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, and a bit about moving from Alan Silvestri to Danny Elfman as composer for Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible.

Meanwhile, the latest episode of The LexG Movie Podcast has LexG letting loose on a "Brian De Palma Lightning Round." LexG has very vague notions of the earliest De Palma works, so he zooms through most of those works, and he goes on mostly recollections of having seen most of these movies however long ago he's seen them (he hasn't gone back to watch anything specifically in preparation for this episode, so several times, he'll ask a bit of forgiveness if he gets some details wrong or misremembers something). As a "lightning round" discussion, it's a fun sort of ride.


Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CDT
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Saturday, May 8, 2021
CHRIS MARTIN LEARNS ABOUT PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
"WHAT AN AMAZING ANSWER TO AN INNOCENT T-SHIRT QUESTION!"


In the video above, Toronto-based radio broadcaster Alan Cross interviews Coldplay's Chris Martin. In the final minute, before saying goodbye, Martin asks the host about his T-shirt:
Chris Martin: And let me ask you: I love that you have "Swanage" on your T-shirt. What is the significance of that?

Alan Cross: Oh! This is my sister's tribute band. My sister is a... Well, I'm from Winnipeg, Manitoba, originally. Uh, that is the city on the planet that is the biggest, has the biggest fan base for the movie Phantom Of The Paradise.

Chris Martin: Right...

Alan Cross: Brian De Palma film from 1974.

Chris Martin: Okay...

Alan Cross: And my sister has even got a Phantom Of The Paradise tribute band... Swanage was the name of the mansion where Paul Williams' character, named Swan, lived as he tortured poor Winslow Leach into making a cantata for the opening of his club, called the Paradise.

Chris Martin: What an amazing answer to an innocent T-shirt question!

Alan Cross: I will get you a T-shirt.

Chris Martin: [laughing] Thanks, man.



Posted by Geoff at 10:52 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 8, 2021 11:39 PM CDT
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Friday, May 7, 2021
UP IN A TREE - PAUL HIRSCH RECALLS 'RABBIT' ROUGH CUT
AND THE BITTER STRUGGLE FOR TREE SCENE - DE PALMA WANTED IT OUT, THE PRODUCERS WANTED IT IN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/inthetree2.jpg

In between Hi, Mom! and Sisters, Brian De Palma went to Los Angeles to make his first studio film at Warner Bros., Get To Know Your Rabbit. Paul Hirsch, who had edited Hi, Mom!, found himself back in Manhattan, cutting trailers for a "fly-by-night company" run by Sig Shore, as Hirsch describes in his book, A long time ago in a cutting room far, far away.... (out in paperback as of this week). In chapter four of the book, Hirsch, who had been editing a trailer for a film called Detective Belli, tells of meeting up with De Palma in late 1971 (almost 50 years ago) and attending a screening of a rough cut of Get To Know Your Rabbit, which would end up being released in 1972, a long delay after De Palma had been fired from the movie and locked out of the editing room:
The negative for Detective Belli was to be made in a lab in L.A. from materials supplied by the Italian distributor, and I was dispatched there in late 1971 to make sure everything was copacetic. Brian De Palma was also in Hollywood then, editing his picture Get To Know Your Rabbit. It was Brian's first studio picture, and he hadn't been able to hire me to work on it because I wasn't even in the New York union, not to mention L.A.'s.

I called him to say I was in town. He invited me to come see a rough cut of his movie, which he was screening that afternoon out at Warner Bros. I went and watched the picture with Brian, his editor, and his producer. When the house lights went up, all eyes turned to me, since mine were the only fresh eyes in the room. The producer asked me what I thought, and I tentatively offered that there was one scene in particular I thought they could do without, a scene in which Tommy Smothers is up in a tree.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, a silence fell on the room, and I could feel a kind of tension. Brian thanked me, and we made a date to get together for dinner later. He explained to me that night that the scene I had mentioned had in fact been the subject of a bitter struggle between Brian and the producers, Brian wanting it out, them wanting it in. They wrongly assumed that Brian had told me what to say. I went on to give Brian a more detailed list of suggestions, which hadn't seemed appropriate to offer in front of anyone else.

I returned to New York and shortly thereafter left Sig Shore's employ.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 8, 2021 1:04 AM CDT
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Thursday, May 6, 2021
VOGUE PARIS - THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BATHTUBS IN CINEMA
INCLUDES TONY MONTANA'S IN 'SCARFACE'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scarfacesocialmed.jpg

"It's hard to get more decadent and famous than the titanic-esque bathtub in Brian De Palma's cult film," says Vogue Paris' Jade Simon about the bathtub in Scarface. "The size at least matches the ego of the main character, played by Al Pacino." The article is titled "Interior inspiration: The most beautiful bathtubs in cinema," and includes seven bathtubs. Here's a couple more we'll throw in right here, just for fun:


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, May 7, 2021 8:37 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 5, 2021
FLASHBACK - TRAVOLTA REMEMBERS MAKING 'CARRIE'
AND CHRIS HEWITT INCLUDES MARGARET WHITE IN LIST OF "7 BEST MOVIE MOMS"...
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/depalmayahoo.jpg

There is oddly no mention at all of Blow Out, but thanks to Rado for sending along this 10-minute-long Yahoo! Entertainment on Facebook Watch video from February of 2020, in which John Travolta recalls some of the significant roles from his career.

"What I remember about it is, it was fun to be on that set," Travolta says in the video, in regards to Brian De Palma's Carrie. "I didn't realize how significant that movie was going to be. Because not only, it got two Oscar nominations, and became a contender in history for maybe one of the better horror pictures ever made. It launched me, but it satisfied a lot of film history. This was a movie where, not unlike Grease, it was just a bunch of young, new actors, that were joining some thoroughbreds, and having at it. You know, and De Palma at the helm, and all for, all about fun. So, I think Carrie was an important movie on many levels, for sure. And the movie was a far more well-made movie than I had anticipated it would be. You know, it became an instant classic."

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune's Chris Hewitt includes Margaret White in his list of "7 best movie moms"...

In an homage to another scary movie mother, "Psycho," teenage Carrie (Sissy Spacek) attends Bates High School. She's bullied there but things are worse at home, where her zealot mother (Piper Laurie) terrorizes her. Laurie is brilliant in Brian De Palma's thriller because it's clear this unstable mom believes she's doing her job — protecting her daughter.

And one more article appeared this week about Carrie:

Eric Eisenberg at Cinema Blend
Adapting Stephen King's Carrie: Is The 1976 Horror Movie Still Queen Of The Prom?

As any Stephen King fan can attest, it’s a pretty magical thing to see the Master of Horror’s work properly realized on the big screen, and Brian De Palma’s Carrie, even more than 40 years after its original release, is not just still excellent, but reigns as one of the all-time great King adaptations. It locks into the disturbing heart of the seminal novel, making you feel every ounce of its protagonist’s pain, and burns images into your brain with its legendary third act – from the site of Carrie on stage drenched in pig’s blood, to the slamming doors, to people being burned, electrocuted, and crushed. No CGI required; just simple, practical effects, and it leaves an everlasting impression.

While it was made with a nothing budget, the film is visually spectacular, with cinematography that is both smart and stunning, and editing that is striking (the use of split-screen in the climax is a brilliant stroke, as you only feel more enveloped in the chaos as your eyes dart back and forth across the screen). The movie is most famous for its chaos, such as the brilliant hand-held camerawork as Carrie emerges from the gym showers desperate for help from any of her peers, but aesthetically it’s also gorgeous and poetic, with striking moments including Carrie being relegated to the background in an early classroom scene, her literally thunderous confrontation with her mother, and Margaret’s dead body holding the same position as the St. Sebastian statue in the prayer closet.

Not exactly being an epic (of which Stephen King has written many), the real power of the material comes from its characters, and the performances delivered by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie are still flooring. Laurie’s Margaret remains one of cinema’s great psychologically terrifying villains, driven to pure madness by her zealotry, and Spacek both breaks your heart and sends chills down your spine when she reaches her breaking point. The movie doesn’t have the capacity to give the audience the full access to the Whites that the book does – for example, deeper insight into Margaret’s religion-driven psychosis, the story of how Carrie was conceived, and incidents from the girl’s childhood – but thanks to the actors’ genius turns you can perfectly read and understand their damage and pain as though it were psychically communicated.

It may not be traditionally frightening, and probably won’t induce nightmares in modern audiences, but Carrie remains haunting and affecting. Combined with its incredible significance in the history of Stephen King adaptations, it’s notably impossible not to put it on a pedestal, but that’s also exactly where it deserves to be. It’s a deeply dark and disturbing story as the author originally wrote it, and while the film presents a very different experience, it’s a masterclass in cinematic horror.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 4, 2021
THE BIG PICTURE PODCAST - TOP 5 SPY MOVIES
TWO OF THE THREE HOSTS INCLUDE DE PALMA'S 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE' IN THEIR TOP FIVE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/misuspendedshot.jpg

On this week's episode of The Big Picture podcast, hosts Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins are joined by Chris Ryan to bounce around each others' picks for top five favorite spy movies. Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible makes a strong showing on both Fennessey's and Dobbins' lists, and is discussed with enthusiasm. Other films mentioned include Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, Carol Reed's The Third Man, Alan J. Pakula's The Parallax View, John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate, Frankenheimer's Ronin, Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor, Martin Ritt's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, Terence Young's Dr. No, Sidney J. Furie's The Ipcress File, and more.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, May 3, 2021
PREVIOUSLY, ON TWITTER
PEOPLE WERE DISCUSSING BRIAN DE PALMA FILMS LAST WEEK
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetsheenaapril2021.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, May 2, 2021
PAUL HIRSCH READS UNUSED CHAPTER FROM HIS BOOK
JOINS 'LIGHT THE FUSE' PODCAST FOR 150TH EPISODE AS PAPERBACK VERSION OF HIS BOOK HITS MAY 4TH

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 1, 2021
OLYMPIA DUKAKIS HAS DIED AT 89
OSCAR WINNER FOR 'MOONSTRUCK' HAD EARLIER UNCREDITED ROLE IN BRIAN DE PALMA'S 'SISTERS'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/olympianamessmall.jpg

Olympia Dukakis, who had an uncredited role as the Staten Island bakery worker who remembers the names on the cake in Brian De Palma's Sisters (1973), died Saturday at the age of 89. Dukakis is best known for her Oscar-winning performance as the mother of a young widow (played by Cher) in Norman Jewison's Moonstruck (1987). As Carmel Dagan describes in a Variety obit, Dukakis tackled that role "with an extraordinary comic ethnic gusto characteristic of the movie as a whole."

Sisters was made in 1973, the same year that Dukakis and her husband, Louis Zorich, helped found the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey (the first photo below, dated from 1973, shows Dukakis in the front chair with the rest of the company). In Sisters, Phillip is running errands for Danielle when he spots the 4 Corners Bakery, and asks the worker inside to decorate a birthday cake with the names Dominique and Danielle. The lady turns her head back to Dukakis, telling her this guy wants her to write names on a cake. "I'd like to see you try!" Dukakis scoffs back at her, and the co-worker take it as a challenge (and we get a classic eerie suspense queue from Bernard Herrmann). Later, as Grace begins investigating Phillip's murder, she stops at the shop with her mother, and asks the lady about the cake. The lady cannot even remember the names she wrote on the cake(!) but, even during a busy moment, Dukakis pulls herself into the conversation to say the she remembers the names: Dominique and Danielle.

Excerpt from a 2003 New York Times brief by Margo Nash about Dukakis promoting her autobiography:

The trim 72-year-old actress with the throaty voice and direct manner has appeared in more than 40 films, 100 plays and 26 television movies. She has played parts ranging from her Oscar-winning role in 1987 as Cher's mother in ''Moonstruck,'' which made her famous, to the transsexual landlady in television's ''Tales of the City'' and ''More Tales of the City.'' She has also directed, taught acting, helped found five theaters, including the Whole Theater, and won numerous awards.

She and her husband, Louis Zorich, were Manhattan theater actors when they moved to Montclair in 1970, seeking a peaceful place to raise a family. They also wanted to start their own theater company, and so with other acting couples, founded the Whole Theater.

The company's first play was ''Our Town,'' in 1973. For the next 17 years, the theater produced five plays a season, including the works of Pirandello, Euripides, Eugene O'Neill, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson and many others, in productions that were critically praised. Among the actors performing were Jose Ferrer, Colleen Dewhurst, Blythe Danner and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as Ms. Dukakis and Mr. Zorich.


Excerpt from New York Times obit by Anita Gates:

Olympia Dukakis was born on June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Mass., the older of two children of Constantine and Alexandra (Christos) Dukakis, both Greek immigrants. Her father worked in various settings, including a munitions factory, a printing business and the quality control department of Lever Brothers. He also founded an amateur theater company.

Olympia graduated from Boston University with a degree in physical therapy and practiced that occupation, traveling to West Virginia, Minnesota and Texas during the worst days of the midcentury polio epidemic. Eventually she earned enough money to return to B.U. to study theater.

Even before she received her M.F.A., she threw herself into her new career, making her stage debut in a 1956 summer stock production of “Outward Bound” in Maine. She moved to New York in 1959 and made her New York stage debut the next year in “The Breaking Wall” at St. Mark’s Playhouse.

Her first screen appearance came in 1962, on the television series “Dr. Kildare.” Her first movie role was an uncredited one as a psychiatric patient in “Lilith” (1964). She received an Obie Award in 1963 for her role as Widow Begbick, the canteen owner, in Bertolt Brecht’s drama “A Man’s a Man” and another, 22 years later, for playing the grandmother of Mr. Durang’s character in “The Marriage of Bette and Boo.”

Along the way she married Louis Zorich, a fellow actor who had appeared with her in a production of “Medea” in Williamstown, Mass. Together they helped found the Whole Theater Company in 1973 in Montclair, N.J., where they lived while bringing up their children. The company produced the likes of Chekhov, Coward and Williams for almost two decades. Ms. Dukakis also taught acting at New York University.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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