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Karen Blanche Black (née Ziegler; July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013) was an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She rose to prominence for her work in various studio and independent films in the 1970s, frequently portraying eccentric and offbeat characters, and established herself as a figure of New Hollywood. Her career spanned over 50 years, and includes nearly 200 credits in both independent and mainstream films. Black received numerous accolades throughout her career, including two Golden Globe Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. A native of suburban Chicago, Black studied theater at Northwestern University before dropping out and relocating to New York City. She performed on Broadway in 1965 before making her major film debut in Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966). Black relocated to California and was cast as an acid-tripping prostitute in Dennis Hopper's road film Easy Rider (1969). This led to a lead in the drama Five Easy Pieces (1970), in which she played a hopeless waitress, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Black made her first major commercial picture with the disaster film Airport 1975 (1974), and her subsequent appearance as Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby (1974) won her a second Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

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