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'Love' co-stars mourn Clayburgh death

By KAREN BUTLER   |   Nov. 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The director and stars of "Love & Other Drugs" say they were heartbroken to hear cast member Jill Clayburgh had died of chronic leukemia.

She had quietly suffered from the disease for 21 years before succumbing to it this month at the age of 66.

Among Clayburgh's film credits are "An Unmarried Woman," "Starting Over," "Silver Streak," "Semi-Tough," "First Monday in October" and "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can." She appeared on TV's "Law & Order," "The Practice" and "Nip/Tuck," had a recurring role on "Ally McBeal" as Ally's mother and was a cast member of "Dirty Sexy Money." She was an accomplished stage actress, as well.

In New York recently to promote their latest film, director Edward Zwick, actress Anne Hathaway and actor Jake Gyllenhaal praised Clayburgh as a gifted professional and outstanding human being.

"It was such a dream to be able to work with her," Zwick told reporters at a recent Manhattan press conference, explaining how no one involved in the production even knew the actress was sick. "To have Jill Clayburgh and George Segal on a set at once was like being in a Paul Mazursky movie. She was just a fantastic lady and it was great to have her around. We liked each other a lot. I would have loved to have worked with her again. I'm very, very sad."

"Jill is one of those people who, unfortunately, didn't have as much time as some ... . She was just amazing," Gyllenhaal added. "My parents were recently divorced and my mother said 'An Unmarried Woman' was such an incredible film for her to watch and helped her so much. I think the work (Clayburgh) did and the woman she was -- she was just incredible. ... I think her living with (her illness) for as long as she did made her appreciate every day. ... She was just loving and open and an incredible actor to watch."

"(In playing your characters' parents,) she and George both set your character up so beautifully with their performances," Hathaway told Gyllenhaal. "Our prayers and best wishes go out to Jill's family."

"Love & Other Drugs" is in theaters now.

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