Actress Marcia Strassman, known for her roles in such hits as “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “MASH,” died Friday after a long fight with breast cancer, her sister Julie Strassman confirmed. She was 66.
Along with her many TV credits, Strassman co-starred opposite Rick Moranis in the 1989 Disney live-action hit “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and 1992 sequel “Honey I Blew Up the Kid.” She was also a longstanding member of the national board of the Screen Actors Guild.
The news of her death broke online when her friend, director Bob Weide, sent a tweet about her passing. Strassman died at her home in Sherman Oaks.
Strassman’s first major TV role came in 1964, when she appeared in “The Patty Duke Show.” She would go on to play Nurse Margie Culter in several episodes of “MASH.”
She’s best known, however, as Julie Kotter, wife to the titular school teacher on “Welcome Back, Kotter.” The series ran on ABC from 1975-1979 and featured a young John Travolta in the cast.
Most recently, Strassman had a stint on “Third Watch” in 2004, appeared in the 2003 TV adaptation of the “Tremors” films and NBC’s “Providence.” Also included in her TV credits are “Booker” and “Noah Knows Best,” and she did voice work for animated series including “Aaaahh!!! Real Monsters.”
Along with her the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” films, she was also in 1985 film “The Aviator” with Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette.
Julie Strassman said her sister performed in an annual event to benefit breast cancer research called Duets for years, and was active in raising money and awareness for the disease, even before she was diagnosed.
Ron “Horshack” Palillo and Robert “Epstein” Hegyes of the original “Welcome Back, Kotter” cast died in 2012. John Sylvester White, who played Mr. Woodman on the show, died in 1988.
Strassman is survived by her daughter, costume designer Elizabeth “Lizzie” Collector, along with her sister Julie and brother Steven Strassman. Julie Strassman added that she was a beloved aunt to her son, Jesse, and daughter, Halley.
Funeral services are pending. Julie Strassman requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to cancer organizations such as the Susan B. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society, in Marcia Strassman’s name.