Celebrity | News | Trending

'Freaky Friday' Actress Dead At 83

Superstar Floral UK

For one generation, the only Freaky Friday they know stars Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, and for another, they grew up watching Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster switch bodies in the 1976 film adaptation of the novel of the same name.

Today, many fans of the original film are in mourning after news of Harris' death broke this morning.

The award-winning actress, who had been living in Scottsdale, Arizona for years, reportedly died on August 21 at the age of 83. Her friend and co-founder of Chicago's iO Theater Charna Halpern confirmed the sad news and revealed Harris' cause of death to be lung cancer.

Harris, who retired from acting in the 90s, had a long and prolific career that started when she was just a teenager. She began stage acting with the Playwrights Theatre in Chicago before becoming a part of Compass Players,  the first ongoing improvisational theatre troupe in the United States.

In 1959, she was cast in The Second City, a theater company directed by her ex-husband Paul Sills. This was the launching pad Harris needed to get on Broadway and earn her first Tony Award nomination.

She eventually took home a trophy for her subsequent role in the 1966 musical comedy The Apple Tree.

After an impressive stint on Broadway, Harris found her Hollywood calling.

"Who wants to be up on the stage all the time?” she said about leaving the world of theater behind. “It isn’t easy. You have to be awfully invested in the fame aspect, and I really never was. What I cared about was the discipline of acting, whether I did well or not."

In Hollywood, Harris was cast in a number of classics, including Robert Altman's Nashville, Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married, and Alfred Hitchcock's final film Family Plot.

She received four Golden Globe nominations as well as her first Oscar nomination for appearing alongside Dustin Hoffman in the 1971 movie Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?

Although Harris remained in the industry until the 90s, she admitted in a 2002 interview that for most of her career she purposely worked on only one film a year and she made sure to "always chose movies that I thought would fail, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the fame thing."

After her memorable performances in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and 1997’s Grosse Point Blank alongside John Cusack, Harris quit acting to become a teacher.

"I don’t usually mention that I have been in movies, because I’m afraid people will say, ‘Well, I don’t watch black-and-white films,’" she said. "Most people don’t know who I am."

Harris may not have realized it, but because of her contributions to theater and Hollywood, many people did know who she was and they took to Twitter to pay tribute to the legendary actress.

Those who knew Harris personally also took to the social media platform to pay their respects.

"Goodnight sweet lady. You were a force. I will miss your calls," actor Ed Asner tweeted.

Her Family Plot co-star Bruce Dern also had something to say: "With the passing of Barbara Harris today, our generation lost its true female comic genius and a girl for the ages."

Rest in Peace Barbara Harris. You will be missed by many.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.