Eileen Brennan dies at 80

Star of Private Benjamin loses cancer fight.

by Amber Wilkinson

Eileen Brennan as Captain Doreen Lewis in Warner Bros film Private Benjamin
Eileen Brennan as Captain Doreen Lewis in Warner Bros film Private Benjamin Photo: Warner Bros
Actress Eileen Brennan has died, aged 80. The star, who was Oscar nominated for her role as the sadistic Captain Doreen Lewis in Goldie Hawn's 1980 comedy Private Benjamin, passed away at her home in Burbank, Los Angeles, after suffering from bladder cancer.

Brennan had a long and varied career in film and on stage, with her film roles also including the BAFTA-nominated worn-down waitress Genevieve in The Last Picture Show, brothel madam Billie in The Sting and as Mrs Peacock in murder spoof Clue.

On stage, she found success Little Mary Sunshine, Hello Dolly and The King And I.

Following a serious accident in 1982, when she was hit by a car, she became addicted to painkillers and went into rehab at the Betty Ford clinic in 1984. But she bounced back with Clue and went on in her later years to put in memorable supporting turns in films including Jeepers Creepers and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous.

Hawn paid tribute to her on Twitter, saying: "We have lost my old friend Eileen Brennan. No one ever made me laugh more! Now I cry. Please keep singing darling from on high. Rest."

The actress, who was divorced from David John Lampson, is survived by their two sons, Patrick Brennan and Sam Lampson.

In a statement, her family said: "She was funny and caring and truly one of a kind. Her strength and love will never be forgotten. She will be greatly missed by all of us."

Share this with others on...
News

Honours for Isabelle Isabelle Huppert on colours and cats, Elle and Things To Come.

"These are not normal circumstances" Peter Sarsgaard on toughness, regret and playing Bobby Kennedy in Jackie.

Contradictory forces Maria Schrader on Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe.

Sweet success at BIFAs for American Honey Under The Shadow also a big winner.

Sundance reveals New Frontier programme Live performances and augmented reality feature in line-up.

Sundance announces competition titles and NEXT Festival to highlight theme of climate change.

More news and features

We're bringing you all the latest from the French Film Festival UK and the Made in Prague Film Festival.



We're looking forward to Welsh horror spectacular Abertoir.



We've recently been at the Scottish Mental Health Arts And Film Festival, the London Film Festival, Grimmfest and the New York Film Festival.



Read our full for recent coverage.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

Win a set of Bad Santa 2 goodies in our latest competition.