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'Welcome back, Kotter' actress Marcia Strassman dies at 66

Strassman was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.

By Aileen Graef
'Welcome back, Kotter' actress Marcia Strassman dies at 66
Actress Marcia Strassman stands with the "Welcome Back Kotter" cast: (L-R) John Travolta, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Hegyes. Strassman died at the age of 66. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Actress Marcia Strassman, best known for her role in Welcome Back, Kotter, died from cancer Saturday at the age of 66.

Strassman played the wife of Gabriel Kaplan in the sitcom that also starred John Travolta. She also starred in the film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and several episodes of the hit show M*A*S*H.

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Her friend and producer Bob Weide broke the news with a tweet mourning the loss.

The news was later confirmed by her sister.

"She was my idol. She was the funniest, smartest person I knew, and she always made me laugh. She was incredibly talented in everything -- not just acting and dancing and singing -- she could also sew and knit, and she was gorgeous. She was an amazing woman and loved by her family and loyal friends of 40 and 50 years," Julie Strassman told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Strassman was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, but was an advocate for research long before her own diagnosis.

Strassman is survived by Julie, her brother, Steven Strassman, and her daughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" Collector.

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