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‘Desperate Housewives’ star Shirley Knight dies aged 83

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Two-time Oscar nominee and Desperate Housewives star Shirley Knight has died aged 83.

Knight passed away on Wednesday (April 22) at her daughter’s home in San Marcos, Texas, according to her daughter Kaitlin Hopkins.

In a Facebook memorial tribute addressed to Shirley, her daughter wrote: “Early this morning April 22nd you passed away, and your sweet soul left us for a better place.

“I was at your side and you went peacefully. To me, you were ‘just mom’, to some you were ‘Miss Knight’, ‘Miss Shirley’, ‘Mama Shirley’ (to my students), ‘Shirl the Girl’ (to your friends), and ‘Shirley Knight’ to your fans.”

Shirley Knight attends the “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” cast photocall at the Culture Project on April 2, 2012 CREDIT WireImage

Viola Davis was among the stars to pay tribute to the late actress, who was nominated for eight Emmy Awards, winning three.

She wrote on Twitter: “RIP to the talented, prolific, Shirley Knight. Rest well (sic).”

RIP to the talented, prolific, Shirley Knight. Rest well ❤?? https://t.co/8JyXaUwlIa

— Viola Davis (@violadavis) April 22, 2020

This is Spinal Tap star Michael McKean tweeted: “I worked with Shirley Knight 20 years ago. She was lovely and smart and didn’t mind me going on and on about her work in Petulia. A beautiful person with a lot of talent. RIP.”

I worked with Shirley Knight 20 years ago. She was lovely and smart and didn’t mind me going on and on about her work in Petulia. A beautiful person with a lot of talent. RIP.

— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) April 22, 2020

Comedian Allen Covert added: “Shirley Knight passed away today. She was an amazing actress and a wonderful person. Her career was long and she could do anything. I am proud to have known her and to have had the honor of working with her. My love and prayers are with her and her family. #ripbea (sic)”

Knight’s career saw her take on Hollywood and then to the New York theatre and London and back to Hollywood.

She was nominated for two Tonys, winning one. In recent years, she had a recurring role as Phyllis Van de Kamp (the mother-in-law of Marcia Cross’ character) in the long-running ABC show Desperate Housewives, gaining one of her many Emmy nominations.

Knight’s her first Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actress came in just her second screen role, as an Oklahoman in love with a Jewish man in the 1960 film version of William Inges’ play The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs.

She was nominated for best-supporting actress two years later for her role as the woman seduced and abandoned by Paul Newman in the 1962 film Sweet Bird Of Youth, based on the Tennessee Williams play.

Knight moved to England with her second husband, British playwright John Hopkins, with whom she had a daughter, Sophie.

Her first husband was producer Gene Persoff, father of her eldest daughter, Kaitlin.

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