Sally Kellerman, An Oscar-nominated Actress, Passed Away At 84 – Checkout!
“Oscar and Emmy-nominated actor Sally Kellerman, who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in director Robert Altman’s 1970 film “Mash,” has passed away. Kellerman died of heart failure on the previous day at his home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles,” her manager and publicist Alan Eichler said.
She was 84 years old. Kellerman had a career spanning more than 60 years in film and television. She played a college professor who was a returning student of Rodney Dangerfield’s love interest in the 1986 comedy “Back to School.” And she was a regular in Altman’s films, appearing in the 1970’s “Brewster McCloud,” 1992’s “The Player,” and 1994’s “Ready to Wear.”
But she has always been known for playing “Major Houlihan,” a bullied, by-the-book army nurse who is tormented by rowdy doctors during the Korean War in the army comedy “Mash.” In the film’s main scene, and the climax of misogyny, a tent where Houlihan is bathing is opened, and she is exposed to an audience of enthusiastic men.
“This isn’t a hospital, it’s an insane asylum!” she yells at her commanding officer. She has a tragic relationship with the equally fiery Major Frank Burns, played by Robert Duvall, demanding that he kiss her hot lips at the moment the camp’s public address is broadcast secretly on speakers, earning her the nickname. Kellerman told Dick Cavett in a 1970 TV interview, “Altman brought out the best in him. It was a very freeing, positive experience.”
“For the first time in my life, I took chances, I didn’t suck in my cheeks, or worry about anything.” The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, but its only acting nod, despite its Best Supporting Actress, was a cast that included Duvall, Donald Sutherland, and Elliot Gould. Let you know that this film will be turned into a TV series lasting 11 seasons, in which Loretta Swit will play the role of Kellerman.
Sally Clare Kellerman was born in Long Beach, California in 1937, the daughter of a piano teacher and an oil executive, who moved to Los Angeles as a child and attended Hollywood High School. Her initial interest was in jazz vocals, and she signed a contract with Verve Records at the age of 18. She worked mostly in television early in her career, with a lead role in 1962’s “Cheyenne” and guest appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “Bonanza.” Her appearance as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in the original “Star Trek” pilot won her cult status among fans.
She worked into her 80s, with several acclaimed television appearances in her final years. Sally Kellerman was married to television producer Rick Edelstein from 1970 to 1972 and to film producer Jonathan D. Krane from 1980 until he died in 2016. She leaves behind a son, Jack, and a daughter, Claire.