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American Actress Shirley Knight Dies At 83

Shirley Knight | Image Credit: Photo by ITV/Shutterstock

American actress and two-time Oscar nominee, Shirley Knight has died. She was 83.

Knight passed away Wednesday at her daughter’s home in San Marcos, Texas, according to her daughter Kaitlin Hopkins. In a lengthy memorial tribute addressed to her mom on Facebook, Hopkins wrote:


“Dear Mom, Early this morning April 22nd you passed away, and your sweet soul left us for a better place. I was at your side and you went peacefully. To me, you were “just mom”, to some you were “Miss Knight”, “Miss Shirley”, “Mama Shirley” (to my students), “Shirl the Girl” (to your friends), and “Shirley Knight” to your fans.”

Shirley Knight’s career carried her from Kansas to Hollywood and then to the New York theatre and London and back to Hollywood. She was nominated for two Tonys, winning one. In recent years, she had a recurring role as Phyllis Van de Kamp (the mother-in-law of Marcia Cross’ character) in the long-running ABC show “Desperate Housewives,” gaining one of her many Emmy nominations.

Knight was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress: for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). In the 1960s, she had leading roles in a number of Hollywood films such as The Couch (1962), House of Women (1962), The Group (1966), The Counterfeit Killer (1968), and The Rain People (1969). She received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her role in the British film Dutchman (1966).

In 1976, Knight won a Tony Award for her performance in Kennedy’s Children. In later years, she played supporting roles in many films, including Endless Love (1981), As Good as It Gets (1997), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), and Grandma’s Boy (2006). For her performances on television, Knight was nominated eight times for a Primetime Emmy Award (winning three), and she has received a Golden Globe Award.

She survived by two daughters, screenwriter Sophie Jacks and actress Kaitlin Hopkins, and stepdaughter Justine.

A memorial service will be held in Los Angeles early next year.

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Shirley Knight
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