NEW YORK: US actress Jill Clayburgh, who was twice nominated for Oscars for her portrayals of independent women, died of leukemia on Friday, the New York Times reported. She was 66.
Clayburgh’s husband, the playwright David Rabe, told the Times she died at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut.
She is best remembered for her role in "An Unmarried Woman," the 1978 film about a wealthy New York woman who picks up the pieces of her life after her stockbroker husband leaves her for a younger woman.
She was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress for the film and also for the 1979 film "Starting Over," with Burt Reynolds and Candice Bergen.
"In her we see intelligence battling feeling — reason backed against the wall by pushy needs," Vincent Canby wrote in a New York Times review of "An Unmarried Woman."
The Times said she was the first of a generation of young actresses "who regularly portrayed characters sprung from the new feminist ethos: smart, capable and gritty, sometimes neurotic, but no less glamorous for all that."
Born in 1944 and raised in a wealthy family in New York, Clayburgh attended some of the most upscale schools of the city, including the Brearley School and Sarah Lawrence College.
While at Sarah Lawrence, she decided to dedicate her life to acting and joined the famous Charles Street Repetory Theater in Boston.
She moved to New York in the late 1960s and had starred in several Broadway productions including "The Rothschilds" and "Pippin".
She began her Hollywood career in 1970 and got her first major role in "Portnoy’s Complaint" in 1972.
In 1978, she rose to fame with her performance in "An Unmarried Woman," for which she received an Oscar nomination.
She received another nomination for the Academy Award in 1979 for her role in "Starting Over."
In 1986, Clayburgh appeared in "Where Are the Children?" alongside child actress Elisabeth Harnois.
Since the late 1980s, she has worked mainly in television and low budget films.
US audiences know Clayburgh from numerous roles in television series and movies including "Law and Order," "The Practice" and as Ally McBeal’s mother.
She received Emmy Award nominations for her work in the made-for-television movie "Hustling" in 1975 and for guest appearances in the series "Nip/Tuck" in 2005.
In 2006, she appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s "Barefoot in the Park." She also returned to the screen in the drama-comedy "Running With Scissors," where she co-starred with Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin and Gwyneth Paltrow.