Oscar Actors: Brennan, Eileen

Born on September 3, 1935 in Los Angeles

Caustic, light supporting player of the American stage and screen, Eileen Brennan was often cast in brassy, neurotic dame roles.

The daughter of silent screen actress Jean Manahan, she got her big break in 1959 as the title star of the off-Broadway musical “Little Mary Sunshine,” for which received glowing reviews and an Obie Award.

Brennan began appearing in films in 1967 and received national exposure the following year as a regular on TV's “Laugh-In.” She was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role as the sarcastic Captain Doreen Lewis in the film “Private Benjamin”(1980) and won an Emmy when she repeated that role in the TV series (1981-83) that followed.

Brennan's career was disrupted in 1983, when she was severely injured in a car accident and for a while was confined to a wheelchair. But overcoming a dependency on prescription painkillers, she returned to the screen in 1985.

Oscar Alert

In 1980, for her role in “Private Benjamin,” Brennan competed for the Supporting Oscar with Mary Steenburgen (who won) in “Melvin and Howard,” Eva Le Galienne in “Resurrection,” Cathy Moriarty in “Raging Bull,” and Diana Scarwid in “Inside Moves.”