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Marta Heflin Dies: 'Fiddler on the Roof' Broadway Star Was 68

By Michael Mullins   |  

Actress Marta Heflin, known for her 1960s and ’70s performances in the Broadway musicals  "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hair," and "Jesus Christ Superstar," died Sept. 18 in Manhattan. She was 68.

The news came via a paid New York Times death announcement on Sunday, which stated that Heflin had died after a long illness, without giving any further details as to the cause of her death.

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The Washington D.C.-born actress, who was a favorite of the late film director and screenwriter Robert Altman, was featured her in his 1979 romantic comedy , "A Perfect Couple," and his 1982 film of Ed Graczyk’s play, "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean."

In "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," Heflin starred among an ensemble cast that included the likes of Cher, Kathy Bates, Sandy Dennis, and Karen Black. She also appeared in Altman's Broadway production of the film in the same year, the Times noted.

Heflin also played minor roles in several other notable films from the mid to late 1970s until the early '80s, including Frank Pierson’s 1976 remake of "A Star Is Born," which starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson; as well as Martin Scorsese’s 1982 "King of Comedy," which starred Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis.

In addition to her acting career, Heflin was also a cabaret singer who frequently sang at New York nightclubs throughout the '70s. Her voice had a "warm, sunny, glow," and "gospel song fervor," according to The Times' reviewer John S. Wilson in 1973.

Born to a power-couple, Heflin's mother, Julia Heflin, was a theater producer and journalist, while her father was a public relations executive. Her uncle was the Oscar-winning actor Van Heflin, who starred in such films as "Shane," the original "3:10 to Yuma," and "Airport," among others.

Heflin was also the cousin to Hollywood director Jonathan Kaplan, who directed the 1988 Jodie Foster film "The Accused," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Information regarding Heflin's surviving family members was not available, the Times reported.

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Actress Marta Heflin, known for her 1960s and ’70s performances in the Broadway musicals "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hair," and "Jesus Christ Superstar," died Sept. 18 in Manhattan. She was 68.
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