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'Five Easy Pieces' star Karen Black dies at 74

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KAREN BLACK
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Karen Black, the prolific actress who appeared in more than 100 movies and was featured in such counterculture favorites as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and Nashville, has died.

Black’s husband, Stephen Eckelberry, says the actress died Thursday from complications from cancer. She was 74.

Known for her full lips and thick, wavy hair that seemed to change color from film to film, Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened. She was a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969’s Easy Rider, a breakthrough that helped get her the role as a waitress who dates an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970’s Five Easy Pieces. Black won an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Award for that performance.

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