Karen Black, Star of “Five Easy Pieces”, Trilogy of Terror” And Over 100 Movies, Dead at 74

Karen Black

Karen Black, who appeared in more than 100 movies and was featured in such counterculture favorites as “Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces” and “Nashville,” has died.

Black’s husband, Stephen Eckelberry, says the actress died Wednesday from complications from cancer. She was 74.

It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend, Karen Black has just passed away, only a few minutes ago,” he wrote on Facebook. “Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me.”

Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened. She was a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969’s “Easy Rider,” a breakthrough that helped get her the role as a waitress who dates an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970’s “Five Easy Pieces.” Black won an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Award for that performance..

Surprisingly one of Blacks most remembered was in Trilogy of Terror,  a three-part made-for-television horror film, which aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 4, 1975. The film, directed by Dan Curtis and starring Karen Black, was originally a failed pilot for a horror anthology television series.  All three segments are based on unrelated short stories written by Richard Matheson. Each segment title is the name of each story’s protagonist, all played by Black. Black initially turned down the project, but reconsidered when her then-husband, Robert Burton, was cast.

The segment “Amelia” more popularly known as “Demon Doll” has become one of the best known horror segments in television history

Watch it below:


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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