Actress Marta Heflin Dies at 68

1:52 PM PST 09/24/2013 by Mike Barnes
Courtesy Everett Collection
Marta Heflin and Paul Dooley in "A Perfect Couple."

The Robert Altman favorite starred for the legendary director in “A Perfect Couple” and “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.”

Marta Heflin, an actress from a famous Hollywood family who appeared for Robert Altman in the Broadway and film versions of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, has died. She was 68.

Heflin, who also starred as a young groupie matched up with a middle-aged businessman (Paul Dooley) in Altman’s romantic comedy A Perfect Couple, died Sept. 18 after a long illness, according to a paid obituary in The New York Times.

Heflin’s uncle was Oscar-winning actor Van Heflin (Johnny Eager, Shane, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers), and her aunt was Frances Heflin, who played Susan Lucci’s mother on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children.

Her mother was theater producer and journalist Julia Heflin, and her cousins include Jonathan Kaplan, the director of the Jodie Foster starrer The Accused. Kaplan is the son of Frances Heflin and film-TV composer Sol Kaplan (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold).

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Marta Heflin played Edna Louise, a member of the all-female fan club called the Disciples of James Dean, on Broadway in Five and Dime in 1982 and then in the film adaptation released later that year. Both productions were directed by Altman; like Heflin, Karen Black, Cher, Sandy Dennis and Kathy Bates also made the transition from stage to screen.

Earlier, Altman turned to Heflin to replace Dennis in A Perfect Couple (1979) in the role as the sometime rock singer who dates an older Greek-American businessman after they meet through a videotape computer dating service.

Heflin also appeared on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof and Hair in the 1960s and in Jesus Christ Superstar and Soon in the ’70s. She had a role in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1982) and worked off-Broadway and in cabaret at such New York venues as Reno Sweeney and Elaine’s.

The family asks that donations in Heflin's name be made to Animal Haven in New York.

E-mail: Mike.Barnes@THR.com

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

 

 

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