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Subject: ARCHIVE: October 8, 1983 ~ Joan Hackett dies at 49

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Date Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 07:48:34am

Joan Hackett, 49, the Actress; Won 1982 Oscar Nomination

The New York Times
Oct. 10, 1983

Joan Hackett, a respected actress who won critical acclaim throughout her career, died of cancer in Encino Hospital in California on Saturday night. She was 49 years old.

At her bedside when she died were Marita Flick, a niece, Christopher Flick, her niece's husband, and Michael Lucas, her secretary and a friend of the family. She had been ill for a year and a half.

Last year Miss Hackett won an Oscar nomination and a 1982 Golden Globe Award for her role in the film ''Only When I Laugh.'' By that time she had already been operated on for cancer and had to travel to the Golden Globe ceremony in a wheelchair. She rose to the podium to accept her award, though, and she told the audience, ''I can now say it doesn't hurt when I laugh.''

''One of the things that is so sad to me is that she was just beginning to have commercial success, to be known by the public and accepted in a way she had been known by her peers,'' said Bobby Zarem, a publicity agent and friend of Miss Hackett. ''She was considered by peers to be one of the pure, perfectionist people in her craft.'' 'Refused to Give In'

Miss Hackett entered Encino Hospital last month, just a few days after she gave a wedding reception for Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher, the actress. She was aware of her condition and probable prognosis, friends said.

''She refused to give in to it until very close to the end, until she had no choice,'' said Nancy Livingston Olson, an actress and friend of Miss Hackett. ''And she handled that with courage and acceptance, a kind of intelligence and wisdom.

''There are two words you have to use to describe Joan - she had total integrity in relation to her work, her life, everything. And she was completely uncompromising.''

Joan Hackett, daughter of an Italian mother and an Irish-American father, was born March 1, 1934, in East Harlem. The Hacketts soon moved to Elmhurst, Queens, and that was home when the future actress with the high cheekbones and aristocratic nose dropped out of her senior year in high school to work as a model.

She made the transition to acting seven years later. In 1960, she made her Off Broadway debut in ''A Clearing in the Woods.'' A year later, she won three acting awards for her role in ''Call Me by My Rightful Name,'' an Off Broadway play.

In 1972, she appeared in ''Night Watch'' on Broadway as a woman in deep emotional trouble. ''Joan Hackett is a model of neurotic despair,'' Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times. ''With her trembling hands, nervous eyes and grating, fluttering voice, she is the kind of girl who makes you think of couches - analysts' couches. This is a beautifully judged performance.'' 'I Know What I Want to Do'

Miss Hackett's movie career included roles in ''The Group,'' ''Will Penny,'' ''The Last of Sheila,'' ''Terminal Man,'' ''Escape Artist'' and ''The Rivals.'' She appeared in a number of television programs as well, including Eugene O'Neill's ''Mourning Becomes Electra.''

As she pursued her acting career, Miss Hackett became known as a strong-willed actress who was not a director's dream. ''I may appear difficult, but I know what I want to do and what I'm about,'' she said in an interview in 1972.

Miss Hackett was also a social activist who worked for the Equal Rights Amendment and the use of solar energy. She fought for the preservation of the Helen Hayes and Morosco Theaters in the Times Square area, both of which were razed to make way for the new Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Miss Hackett, whose marriage to Richard Mulligan ended in divorce in the early 1970's, is survived by her brother, John Hackett, her sister, Theresa Hackett, and six nieces and nephews.


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Starred in the TZ episode "A Piano in the House" with Barry Morse (NT)R.I.PTuesday, October 08, 09:31:25am

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