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Eileen brennan

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Verla Eileen Regina Brennan (née Brennen; September 3, 1932 – July 28, 2013)[1] was an American actress. She made her film debut in the satire Divorce American Style (1967), followed by a supporting role in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), which earned her a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She gained further critical acclaim for her role as Captain Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin, for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She reprised the role in a television adaptation, winning both a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award.

Brennan also starred in the mystery comedy Clue (1985), and had a minor role in the horror film Jeepers Creepers (2001). She prolifically worked in television, receiving Emmy nominations for her guest roles on Newhart, Thirtysomething, Taxi, and Will & Grace.

Brennan was born Verla Eileen Regina Brennen[2][3] on September 3, 1932,[4] in Los Angeles, California, daughter of Regina "Jeanne" Menehan, a silent film actress, and John Gerald Brennen, a doctor.[citation needed] Of Irish descent, she was raised Catholic.

After graduating from high school in California, Brennan relocated to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University, where she was a member of the Mask and Bauble Society.[5][6] She later relocated to New York City to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she was roommates with Rue McClanahan.[7]

Brennan began her acting career while attending university, appearing in Georgetown's stage productions of Arsenic and Old Lace. Her exceptional comic skills and romantic soprano voice propelled her from unknown to star in the title role of Rick Besoyan's off-Broadway tongue-in-cheek musical/operetta Little Mary Sunshine (1959),[6] earning Brennan an Obie Award, and its unofficial sequel The Student Gypsy (1963), on Broadway.[8]

She played Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker at the 1961 Central City Opera Summer Festival in Central City, Colorado directed by Arthur Penn, who had just won a Tony for his direction of the play on Broadway.[9] She went on to create the role of Irene Molloy in the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! (1964).[10]

Brennan's work in theatre attracted attention from television producers in California. Carl Reiner, who was seeking an actress to play the role of Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, flew her from New York to Los Angeles to audition for the part; however, the role was given to Mary Tyler Moore.[11]

Her feature-film debut was in Divorce American Style (1967). She soon became one of the most recognizable (if not precisely identifiable) supporting actresses in film and television. Her roles were usually sympathetic characters, though she played a variety of other character types, including earthy, vulgar and sassy, but occasionally "with a heart of gold". A year after her feature-film debut, she became a semi-regular on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, but stayed for only two months. Brennan also appeared on Barnaby Jones; episode titled “Blood Relations” (11/28/1975).

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