A distinctive American character actor with roots in Broadway musicals, Eileen Brennan was best known for her Oscar-nominated supporting role as an unrelenting drill sergeant in the fish-out-of-water comedy "Private Benjamin" (1980). Prior to that high-profile accomplishment Brennan spent the 1970s working with distinguished directors like Peter Bogdanovich and George Roy Hill, for whom she offered up stellar supporting roles as sharp-tongued, world-weary dames in "The Last Picture Show" (1971) and "The Sting" (1973). The smoky-voiced comedienne whose silent film star features made her a natural for such period pieces, also had memorable roles in zany parodies including the sketch-comedy show "Laugh-In" (NBC, 1968-1973) and Neil Simon's "Murder by Death" (1976) before her "Private Benjamin" success launched a steady small-screen career. Brennan earned multiple Emmy nominations for her central role in the film's sitcom spin-off and went on to appear in scores of television comedies and movies-of-the-week where her unique wit and feisty persona were always a welcome addition. After years of successfully battling breast cancer, Brennan died in 2013 of bladder cancer, with her tenaciousness remaining only part of her considerable legacy.