Olympia Dukakis (June 20, 1931 – May 1, 2021) was an American actress, director, producer, teacher and activist. She performed in over 130 stage productions, over 60 films and in 50 television series. Best known as a screen actress, she started her career in theater. Not long after her arrival in New York City, she won an Obie Award for Best Actress in 1963 for her off-Broadway performance in Bertolt Brecht’s Man Equals Man. She later moved to film acting and won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, among other accolades, for her performance in Moonstruck (1987). She received another Golden Globe nomination for Sinatra (1992) and Emmy Award nominations for Lucky Day (1991), More Tales of the City (1998) and Joan of Arc (1999). Dukakis’s autobiography, Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress, was published in 2003. In 2020, a feature-length documentary about her life, titled Olympia, was released theatrically in the United States.
Dukakis has appeared in a number of films, including Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Jane Austen’s Mafia!, The Thing About My Folks, and Moonstruck, for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She also played the role of Anna Madrigal in the Tales of the City television mini-series, which garnered her an Emmy Award nomination, and appeared on Search for Tomorrow as Dr. Barbara Moreno, who romanced Stu Bergman. She appears as Dolly Sinatra in the mini-series of Frank Sinatra’s life (1992). Her Broadway theatre credits include Who’s Who in Hell and Social Security. She appeared in Martin Sherman’s one-woman play Rose, about a woman who survived the Warsaw Ghetto, in London and then on Broadway Her theater, film, and television work has also won her an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, and a Golden Globe.
Dukakis won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Moonstruck and was nominated for the Canadian Academy Award for The Event. She provided the voice of Grandpa’s love interest for The Simpsons episode “The Old Man and the Key”. In 2003, Dukakis published her national bestselling autobiography Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress. Recent films include 3 Needles, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, In the Land of Women, and Away From Her, the 2006 film which cast her alongside Gordon Pinsent as the spouses of two Alzheimers patients.
In 1998, she starred as Charlotte Kiszko in the British TV drama A Life for a Life: The True Story of Stefan Kiszko (ITV), based on the real-life story of Stefan Kiszko, a man wrongfully imprisoned for seventeen years for the murder of a child, Lesley Molseed, after police suppressed evidence of his innocence.
In 2008, Dukakis directed the world premiere production of Todd Logan’s Botanic Garden at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. That same year she starred in the revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, opposite Kevin Anderson at the Hartford Stage, and co-adapted and starred in the world-premiere of Another Side of the Island, based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, at Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, Montana. In 2011, Dukakis guest-starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She played the role of Debby Marsh, an attorney. In 2013 she starred in and executive-produced the 2013 film Montana Amazon, co-starring Haley Joel Osment; that same year, on May 24, she was honored with the 2,498th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, in the category of Live Theater. In 2018 Olympia Dukakis starred in Eleftheromania, which follows an Auschwitz survivor as she recites a true story about a group from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The following year, Dukakis reprised the role of Anna Madrigal, which she had first played in 1993, in a Netflix update of Armisted Maupin’s Tales of The City.