Eileen BrennanRon Galella/WireImage


Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, nominated for an Academy Award for "Private Benjamin," died Sunday at the age of 80. The stage, television, and film star passed away after battling bladder cancer.

Brennan started out in the theater, originating the role of Irene Molloy in Broadway's "Hello, Dolly!" From there, she graduated to feature films, becoming a prolific and recognizable supporting actress in movies like "The Last Picture Show"; "The Sting," opposite Paul Newman; and "Clue," as Mrs. Peacock. Director Peter Bogdanovich was a big fan of Brennan's, casting her in "Last Picture Show," "Daisy Miller," and "At Long Last Love."

Her most acclaimed role came in 1980's "Private Benjamin," in which she played the stern, tough-talking captain of Goldie Hawn's character. Brennan received an Oscar nomination, and later, when she reprised the part in the TV adaptation, won a Golden Globe and Emmy.

In 1982, after dining with Hawn, Brennan was hit by a car. She received severe injuries, including multiple broken facial bones and an eyeball wrenched out of its socket. While recovering, the actress became addicted to painkillers and entered the Betty Ford Clinic in 1984. She told People that at one point, she wanted to die.

After a successful rehab stint, Brennan returned to acting, appearing in Bogdanovich's "Last Picture Show" follow-up "Texasville." She also did many guest stints on TV shows, including "Blossom," "7th Heaven," and "Will & Grace."

In her personal life, Brennan married and divorced photographer David Lampson. She is survived by their two sons, Sam and Patrick. Patrick has followed in his mother's acting footsteps, with a role in "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."