9 Aug 2013

Actress Karen Black dies at 74

4:35 pm on 9 August 2013

American actress Karen Black, who played leading roles in 1970s films Five Easy Pieces and Nashville, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 74.

Her publicist, Elliot Mintz, says she had been suffering from cancer in recent years.

Black was best known for her role as Rayette, the big-dreaming waitress in the 1970 working-class drama Five Easy Pieces, in which she starred alongside Jack Nicholson. For that, she won a Golden Globe award for best supporting actress and was nominated for an Oscar.

She won another Golden Globe for best supporting actress for the role of Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby (1974), which starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and was also lauded for her role as an aspiring actress in the 1975 drama The Day of the Locust.

She also played a small part as a prostitute in the 1969 hit movie Easy Rider, which starred Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Nicholson.

Black was diagnosed with ampullary cancer, which is similar to pancreatic cancer, in 2010, and made headlines earlier this year after turning to the internet to help fund her medical treatment. She and her husband raised about $US68,000, according to her fund-raising page.