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Actress Eileen Brennan dead at 80

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Jul 30, 2013 | 3:22pm EDT

TV and movie veteran Eileen Brennan has lost her battle with bladder cancer at the age of 80. The Last Picture Show and Private Benjamin star passed away at her home in Burbank, California on Sunday (28Jul13), according to The Hollywood Reporter. She portrayed a brothel madam in 1973's The Sting and Peter Falk’s secretary in Murder by Death, but she is perhaps best remembered as tough captain Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin - a role that earned her an Oscar nomination. On TV, she appeared in comedy skits on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and in All in the Family. Last year (12), Brennan told America's Globe magazine she was ready to die after beating breast cancer and an addiction to prescription pills and surviving a near-fatal car accident. She said, "I've had a wonderful, simply wonderful life and career, and I'm also at a point where leaving this place behind is just fine and dandy with me... I'm ready any time... Just let it be quick and painless." And Brennan admitted life had become quite a lonely existence as a housebound pensioner, adding, "I'd like to go to the store and see the fruit and vegetables and how colourful they all are, but I don't go. I have no way of getting there. I sit on the porch, and I read the newspapers and watch the squirrels play." The actress also told the publication she felt she had been living on borrowed time since she was run over by a car while leaving a dinner with her Private Benjamin co-star Goldie Hawn in 1982. The horrendous accident left her with serious leg injuries, multiple facial fractures, a broken nose and it dislodged an eyeball from its socket. She explained, "To be honest, I have no idea how I survived. I should be dead, really. Sometimes I wish I was." Brennan claimed the accident robbed her of her life and she became hooked on strong painkillers that finally led her to rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic in California.

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