Beatrice Straight, the distinguished, multi-talented actress who earned an Academy Award for her role as William Holden’s estranged wife in the classic TV satire “Network,” died April 7 in Los Angeles. She was 86.
Reference books and film databases showed that Straight, who also earned a Tony for her work on Broadway and was nominated for an Emmy, was born Aug. 2, 1918, making her 82, but her son said she was 86.
Although she needed just three days to film her three scenes in “Network,” nobody disputed Straight’s selection as the best supporting actress of 1976 for her portrayal of a wife struggling to keep her sanity after being dumped for a younger woman.
The movie gave Straight one of her most high-profile Hollywood performances. Others included the paranormal investigator in 1982’s “Poltergeist” and Mother Christophe in 1959’s “The Nun’s Story.”
Her stage career extended for decades and garnered her a Tony as best supporting actress of 1953 for her Broadway portrayal of a Puritan accused of witchcraft in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
A native of Westbury, Long Island, Straight made her Broadway debut in “Bitter Oleander” in 1935. She also appeared on TV for more than 40 years, earning an Emmy nomination in 1978 for her role as the matriarch in the miniseries “The Dain Curse.”
She also appeared opposite Lynda Carter in the hit 1970s series “Wonder Woman,” playing the Queen Mother to Carter’s title character.
Other movie credits included “Bloodline,” “The Promise,” “Endless Love,” “Two of a Kind” and “Power.” Her final film role was as Goldie Hawn’s mother in 1991’s “Deceived.”
She is survived by two sons, writer-director Tony Cookson and actor Gary Cookson, and a brother.