'Three's Company' actress Ann Wedgeworth dies at 83

Actress Ann Wedgeworth has died at age 83, according to reports from The Hollywood Reporter and The Associated Press.

Wedgeworth's daughter Dianna Martin said the actress died Thursday close to her home in New York City after a long illness in a nursing home. Martin told The Hollywood Reporter that Wedgeworth was surrounded by family. 

In television, Wedgeworth was best known for her nine-episode role on the hit '70s sitcom Three's Company as Lana Shields, an older woman with her eyes set on her young neighbor Jack, played by John Ritter; and as Merleen Elldridge in Burt Reynolds' 1990s sitcom Evening Shade, where she acted in four seasons of episodes. 

She acted in several soap operas and found success in Hollywood with roles alongside Gene Hackman in the 1973 film Scarecrow and Robert De Niro in Bang the Drum Slowly the same year.

She also starred as country music singer Patsy Cline's mom in the 1985 film Sweet Dreams.

Wedgeworth landed her first Broadway role in the 1958 comedy Make a Million and continued to take on stage roles for decades. In 1978, she won a Tony Award for best featured actress in a play for her performance in Neil Simon's Chapter Two.

She was born in Abilene, Texas, in 1934. Her father was the superintendent of a local school and her mother died when Ann was 2 years old. After getting a drama degree from Southern Methodist University, she moved to New York City in the 1950s to pursue a theater career.

She married actor Rip Torn and the couple had a daughter, Danae Torn, before ending their five-year marriage in 1961. Wedgeworth later married acting teacher Ernest Martin and had her second daughter, Martin.

Survivors include her husband, her two daughters and stepsons Michael Martin and Greg Martin.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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