Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save 44%
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
YESTERDAY
First Promo For The Night Before
Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt get Christ-messy
Exclusive Look At Empire's Amy Schumer Photoshoot
The Trainwreck star hits the silver screen
New Trailer For Ricki And The Flash
Meryl Streep rocks while her family rolls
Diane Keaton Joins The Young Pope
She'll star alongside Jude Law in the TV series
Exclusive New Look At Sanjay’s Super Team
And Pixar director Sanjay Patel talks about his new short
Exclusive: Three New Batman V Superman Pics
Empire offers a fresh look at Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor
Empire Debuts New Deadpool Images
Wade Wilson prepares to break your firewall too
Rachel McAdams In Early Talks For Marvel's Doctor Strange
She's considering a lead role
Richard Linklater Considering The Rosie Project
He may direct Jennifer Lawrence in the book adaptation
Bret McKenzie Writing Bob: The Musical's Songs
Tom Cruise still circling the lead and Michael Chabon may script it
Morgan Freeman Heads Down To A Sunless Sea
He's signed up for some more action
Lori Evans Taylor Given Bed Rest
Horror spec script snapped up by MGM
The Vicious Brothers Directing Horror Pic Temple
From a script by The Guest's Simon Barrett
More Movie News

RELATED REVIEWS
Jeepers Creepers
Empire Star Rating
White Palace
Empire Star Rating
Private Benjamin
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Eileen Brennan Dies
Character actress was 80

30 July 2013  |  Written by James White  

submit to reddit

Though she probably made the biggest splash – and scored an Oscar nomination in the process – for her role as Captain Lewis in Private Benjamin, actress Eileen Brennan enjoyed a long and varied career. She died on Sunday at the age of 80.

An always-reliable performer noted for her husky voice and take-no-prisoners attitude to both life and performing, she was born Verla Eileen Regina Brennen in 1932 and grew up in Los Angeles. After studying at Georgetown University, she took acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, paying her way through work as a singing waitress while performing in summer stock during the holidays.

She scored various stage roles, and won an Obie Award for her leading performance in 1959’s Little Mary Sunshine. Brennan followed that up with roles in The Miracle Worker and The King And I.

Television would follow in the 1960s, with work on The Star Wagon and a regular job on Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In. other shows, leading to her film debut in 1967’s Divorce, American Style.

Her movie career kicked up a gear with Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, and she chased that with Scarecrow, The Sting and Daisy Miller. Yet it was 20 years into her working life that she found true fame with Private Benjamin’s steely Captain Doreen Lewis, who made it her mission in life to grind down Goldie Hawn’s titular pampered princess-turned-army grunt. Brennan was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards and would go on to reprise the role for the TV spin-off, before a serious car accident cut it short.

Brennan’s momentum never recovered and she also became addicted to painkillers. She continued to work, however, popping up in small roles on films such as Jeepers Creepers and Miss Congeniality 2, plus TV series such as ER and Will And Grace. After surviving breast cancer, she was more recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. She’s survived by two sons, a sister and two grandchildren. "We have lost my old friend Eileen Brennan," Goldie Hawn tweeted today. "No one ever made me laugh more! Now I cry. Please keep singing darling from on high. Rest."


Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Comic-Con 2013: Guardians Of The Galaxy And Captain America Interviews
'So you're beating up his fist with your face?'
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Read Empire's official verdict

Empire Meets Joely Richardson
On Maggie, Arnie and Event Horizon

Sven Hansen-Løve Talks Eden
The house DJ on France’s answer to 24 Hour Party People

100 Greatest Movie Characters
The complete list of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

Vote Now For Your Favourite TV Shows
Pick your top five - if you can...

David O. Russell Talks Through First Joy Trailer
The writer/director breaks down the Jennifer Lawrence Oscar hopeful

Paul Rudd Is Awesome
Being awesome: from Clueless to Ant-Man

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)