I was saddened to fire up the computer today and learn that Jill Clayburgh has died after a 21-year battle with chronic leukemia. You just never know what you’re going to wake up to every day, do you? This is a shocker, even though I knew she’d been sick.
Clayburgh was only 66, and I loved seeing her back on the small screen in ABC’s ‘Dirty Sexy Money.’ The show wasn’t spectacular, by any means, but seeing Clayburgh and on-screen husband Donald Sutherland chew up the scenery was a great reason to tune in every week.
Clayburgh never stopped working, and we can look forward to seeing her in a couple of upcoming movies, ‘Love and Other Drugs’ with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, and Judd Apatow’s comedy ‘Bridesmaids, starring Rose Byrne and Kristen Wiig.
But she’s probably most remembered for her early films like 1978’s ‘An Unmarried Woman,’ in which she starred as a wealthy Manhattanite whose husband leaves her for a younger woman, and 1979’s ‘Starting Over,’ starring Burt Reynolds as a divorced man who falls in love but can’t get over his ex-wife. Both films earned Clayburgh an Oscar nom for best actress.
She’s also done a lot of theater work, including the original Broadway run of ‘Pippin.’ She was nominated for two Emmys, for the TV movie ‘Hustling’ and a guest role on ‘Nip/Tuck.’ She also played Allie McBeal’s mom on that series.
Clayburgh is survived by her husband, playwright David Rabe, her daughter, Broadway actress Lily Rabe, her son, Michael, and her stepson, Jason.
Tom Cruise may go down in cinematic history for his underwear dance in ‘Risky Business,’ but here’s a great scene of Clayburgh dancing in ‘An Unmarried Woman.’