An actress known to one generation as Gabe Kaplan's wife, Julie, on Welcome Back, Kotter and to another as the mom in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has died after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. Marcia Strassman died Saturday at home in Sherman Oaks, Calif.; she was 66, the AP reports. "They gave her two and a half years to live but she lasted much longer. She was very courageous," says sister Julie Strassman. "She was the funniest, smartest person I ever met. And talented. She knew everything. Now I won't be able to call her and ask her questions," she tells Deadline. The actress is also survived by a daughter and a brother.
Strassman was born in 1948 in New York City and went to Los Angeles at age 18. Her career began in music but turned to acting when she appeared on The Patty Duke Show and landed the role of nurse Margie Cutler on M.A.S.H. This was followed by her role on Kotter, then as the mom opposite Rick Moranis in the Disney hit and its sequel. She also appeared in Third Watch in 2004, adds Variety. Even before her cancer diagnosis, Strassman was involved in cancer research and treatment organizations. "She had more friends than anyone in the world. She could do anything," her sister says. (Click to read about other celebrities who died of breast cancer.)