×

Verna Bloom, Actress in ‘Animal House,’ ‘High Plains Drifter,’ Dies at 80

Verna Bloom, who appeared in “Animal House” and worked with the likes of Martin Scorsese, died Jan. 9 in Bar Harbor, Maine, her rep confirmed to Variety. She was 80 years old.

The cause was complications of dementia, her family stated.

Although Bloom appeared extensively in theater and television, she is most noted for her film work. One of her memorable roles came in John Landis’ 1978 comedy “Animal House,” in which she appeared as the drunken, debauched wife of the beleaguered Dean Wormer. She also appeared in three films by Martin Scorsese — “Street Scenes 1970,” “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988), and “After Hours” (1985) — and two by Clint Eastwood: “High Plains Drifter” (1973) and “Honkytonk Man” (1982).

Bloom was born in Lynn, Mass., in 1938. After graduating from Boston University, she moved to Denver and started a local theater. Moving to New York in the mid-1960s, she starred as Charlotte Corday in the Broadway revival of “Marat/Sade” and, shortly after, on the recommendation of the writer-historian Studs Terkel, made her film debut in Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool” (1969), in which she played a young Appalachian mother caught up in the street violence of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. For her performance, she was nominated for both lead and supporting actress by the National Society of Film Critics.

Bloom fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring with Frank Sinatra in the two-part television film “Contract on Cherry Street” (1977), and then appearing in Peter Fonda’s elegiac Western “The Hired Hand” (1981).

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, screenwriter Jay Cocks (“Gangs of New York”), and her son Sam.

Donations may be made to Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue.

(Pictured: Verna Bloom and Tim Matheson in “Animal House”)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • They Shall Not Grow Old restoration

    Peter Jackson Documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Nabs Limited China Release

    The Peter Jackson produced and directed World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” will hit Chinese theaters on November 11. Though it will roll out nationwide, it will do so via the China’s National Arthouse Alliance, which has limited screens. The 2018 documentary puts together interviews with WWI veterans and more than 100-year-old [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    'Zombieland: Double Tap' Hopes to Recapture Raunchy Zombie Magic, 10 Years Later

    Audiences may have a few questions about the sequel to 2009’s hit “Zombieland,” which opens Friday. Why did it take 10 years to make a second one, after the first grossed $102.4 million worldwide on a $23 million budget, making it the third-biggest zombie movie of all time (second-biggest if you don’t count “Hotel Transylvania,” [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Sir Elton John poses for photographers

    Elton John Calls 'Lion King' Remake a 'Huge Disappointment'

    Elton John isn’t feeling the love for Disney’s latest live-action remake. In an interview with GQ U.K., the legendary musician criticized Disney’s remake of “The Lion King,” citing the film’s music as a “huge disappointment.” “The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music [...]

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Elizabeth Moss

    SCAD Savannah Film Festival Honorees Include Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss

    Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss, Danielle Macdonald, Aldis Hodge, Valerie Pachner, Samantha Morton, Sienna Miller, Alan Silvestri and Olivia Wilde are set to be honored at the 22nd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Breakout Award honorees include Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud and Camila Morrone. Macdonald, who appears on Netflix in “Unbelievable” and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content