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Actress loses battle with cancer

2013-08-09 11:15
Los Angeles - Karen Black, the prolific actress who appeared in more than 100 movies and was featured in such counterculture favorites as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and Nashville, has died.

Black's husband, Stephen Eckelberry, says the actress died Wednesday from complications from cancer. She was 74.

Known for her full lips and thick, wavy hair that seemed to change color from film to film, Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened.

Her breakthrough was as a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969's Easy Rider, the hippie classic that helped get her the role of Rayette Dipesto, a waitress who dates — and is mistreated by — an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970's Five Easy Pieces.

Cited by The New York Times as a "pathetically appealing vulgarian." Black's performance won her an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Award.

Black was married four times. She is survived by Eckelberry, a son and a daughter.
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