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Eileen Brennan, dead at 80

By April Neale Jul 31, 2013, 2:42 GMT

Eileen Brennan, dead at 80

"Our world has lost a rare human," said "Private Benjamin" star Goldie Hawn in a statement. "Eileen was a brilliant comedian, a powerful dramatic actress and had the voice of an angel. I will miss my old friend."

Eileen Brennan has died. She was 80.

Brennan's managers, Jessica Moresco and Al Onorato, told the press she died Sunday at home in Burbank after a battle with bladder cancer.

"Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and respect for Eileen," her family said in a statement. "She was funny and caring and truly one of a kind. Her strength and love will never be forgotten."

Brennan was a veteran of the stage, television and in movies, notably for her role as Army Capt. Doreen Lewis in 1980's "Private Benjamin," aloof Mrs. Peacock in 1985's "Clue" and mean orphanage superintendent Miss Bannister in 1988's "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking."

"I love meanies, and this goes back to Capt. Lewis in `Private Benjamin,"' Brennan said a 1988 interview with The Associated Press. "You know why? Because they have no sense of humor. People who are mean or unkind or rigid -- think about it -- cannot laugh at themselves. If we can't laugh at ourselves and the human condition, we're going to be mean."

"Our world has lost a rare human," said "Private Benjamin" star Goldie Hawn in a statement. "Eileen was a brilliant comedian, a powerful dramatic actress and had the voice of an angel. I will miss my old friend."

Brennan was born Verla Eileen Regina Brennan in Los Angeles. She was educated in convent schools and studied at Georgetown University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

She is survived by her two sons, Sam and Patrick Brennan.

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