Oscar Nominee Jill Clayburgh Dead at 66

Actress starred in 'An Unmarried Woman,' portrayed empowered women
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2010 12:01 AM CDT
Actress Jill Clayburgh and daughter Lily Rabe arrive for opening night of 'Exit The King" at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
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(Newser) – Jill Clayburgh, best-known for her Oscar-nominated role in An Unmarried Woman, has died at age 66, following a 21-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Clayburgh's career spanned five decades, and broke ground and glass ceilings alike in her portrayals of empowered women, as in her turn as a divorcee exploring her sexuality in 1978's An Unmarried Woman.

"There was practically nothing for women to do on the screen in the 1950s and 1960s," Clayburgh told the AP in a 1978 interview while promoting An Unmarried Woman. "Sure, Marilyn Monroe was great, but she had to play a one-sided character, a vulnerable sex object. It was a real fantasy." Clayburgh graced big and small screen alike, most recently roles on Dirty Sexy Money and Nip/Tuck.

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