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Karen Black's five most memorable movies

August 09, 2013|By Chris Lee
  • Karen Black
Karen Black (Los Angeles Times )

Over the course of a long and prolific career that saw her appear in nearly 200 films, Karen Black left her most lasting mark on Hollywood portraying women on the brink: hysterical characters teetering at the edge of dissolution or madness -- or both -- who chase desperately after their dreams, often stuck in dysfunctional relationships with hideous men.

After a long battle with ampullary cancer, Black died Thursday at age 74. Here are five films that helped cement her legacy:

“Five Easy Pieces” – In the acclaimed 1970 drama for which Black will be most singularly remembered, she portrays Rayette Dipesto, the borderline suicidal waitress girlfriend (with dreams of country music stardom) who is pregnant with Jack Nicholson’s piano-prodigy-turned-oilfield-wildcatter character’s child. Black was nominated for a supporting actress Academy Award and won the same category at the Golden Globes.

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