Eileen Brennan, Actress Famous For 'Private Benjamin,' 'Clue,' Dies

Image: Eileen Brennan, Actress Famous For 'Private Benjamin,' 'Clue,' Dies

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 04:54 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Eileen Brennan, who played an aggravated drill captain in "Private Benjamin" and Mrs. Peacock in "Clue," has died after battling bladder cancer.

Brennan, 80, was known for playing "sassy, brassy women, the kind with a sandpaper surface but a light, pure heart," CNN said. She won an Emmy for her "Private Benjamin" role for supporting actress in a comedy — anyone who's seen the movie can probably still picture her with a camouflage helmet covered in branches — and was nominated for six other roles throughout her career.

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She played in numerous movies, including "The Sting" and "The Last Picture Show," and also appeared on many television shows. She made guest appearances on "Will & Grace," which resulted in one of her Emmy nominations, "Murder She Wrote," "ER," and others, CNN said.

The Hollywood Reporter tracked Brennan's impressive career, beginning with comedic appearances in the 1960s on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and an appearance on the iconic "All in the Family." The website's story reported on some of Brennan's struggles during her lifetime, including an addiction to painkillers after a horrific 1982 accident when she was hit by a car in Venice, Calif.

CNN quoted a People magazine article in which Brennan talked about her addiction.

"Everyone hits bottom their own way," she told People. "Mine came through my accident, which led to my pill addiction, which led to my birth. I say birth rather than rebirth because I feel born new. I re-established a spiritual connection that is lost when you are taking any kind of drug. Strangely enough I wouldn't have missed my accident. It just knocks me out to say that, but I mean it."

Although she was never one of Hollywood's top-rated stars, Brennan's talent for making viewers laugh clearly impacted many people, who commented online.

Michael McKean, a co-star in "Clue" with Brennan, tweeted:



One fan called her "criminally underrated":



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