Susan Anspach has passed away from coronary failure at her home in Los Angeles, according to reports. She was 75.
Anspach was known for her role in 1960s-70s counterculture films such as “Five Easy Pieces,” “Play It Again, Sam,” and “Blume in Love,” as well as the musical “Hair.”
In “Hair” she played the good-girl-turned-hippie female lead character “Sheila.”
Susan Florence Anspach was born in Queens in 1942 and was raised by a great-aunt. When she was 6 years old, that aunt died and she went back to live with her parents.
Her father was Renald Anspach, a WWII Army vet and factory worker. Her mother was Gertrude Kehoe, a secretary and daughter of a Wall Street banker who disowned her when she married down in his view. They met at the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens.
Susan left home at age 15 and with help from the church, moved in with a family in Harlem. She studied music and drama at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.
As a young actress, she was friends with young unknown (at the time) actors of Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, and Jon Voight. She made her stage debut in New York with Duvall and Voight in 1965 in “A View From the Bridge.” The next year she appeared with Hoffman in “The Journey of the Fifth Horse.”
She later made two Broadway appearances in “And Things That Go Bump in the Night” and “Lovers.”
She is survived by her son, whose father is Jack Nicholson, and daughter Catherine Goddard, three grandchildren, and a brother.
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