Actress Shirley Knight dies at 83

Shirley Knight died Wednesday of natural causes at age 83. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
Shirley Knight died Wednesday of natural causes at age 83. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

April 22 (UPI) -- Shirley Knight died on Wednesday of natural causes in the home of her daughter, Kaitlin Hopkins. She was 83.

Hopkins posted on Facebook that she was by her mother's side when she passed, having brought her to Texas 26 days prior. Hopkins indicated that Knight had declined after a surgery, and had hospice assistance in her final days.


Friends, family and colleagues of Knight's sent video messages sharing their memories, which Hopkins is keeping. The Knight family -- including Hopkins and her half sister Sophie C. Hopkins -- created the Shirley Knight Memorial Fund at Texas State University to help young artists attend school.

Knight appeared in films from an uncredited role in 1955's Picnic to playing Kevin James's mother in the two Paul Blart: Mall Cop films. Highlights include The Rain People, Dutchman, Endless Love, As Good As It Gets, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Our Idiot Brother.

Many of those roles also cast Knight as a mother -- to Brooke Shields in Endless Love, Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets and Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother. She had Oscar nominations for Sweet Bird of Youth and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.


On stage, Knight won a Tony Award in 1976 for her role in Kennedy's Children and another nomination for The Young Man from Atlanta in 1997. Other theater credits include the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Irina in The Three Sisters, and The Vagina Monologues.

On television, Knight appeared in episodes of classic early TV series Rawhide, Maverick, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive and many more. She had a recurring role as Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross)'s mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives and other appearances on Law & Order: SVU, Hot in Cleveland, Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and many more. She won an emmy for an appearance on Thirtysomething.

A memorial service will be held in 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Notable deaths of 2020

Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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