Marcia Strassman

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Marcia Strassman
Marcia Strassman 1975.JPG
Strassman in 1975
Born (1948-04-28)April 28, 1948
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 24, 2014(2014-10-24) (aged 66)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Breast cancer
Occupation Actress, television personality, singer
Years active 1963–2014
Known for Welcome Back, Kotter
Honey I Shrunk the Kids

Marcia Ann Strassman (April 28, 1948 – October 24, 2014) was an American actress and singer, best known for her roles in M*A*S*H, as Julie Kotter in Welcome Back, Kotter and as Diane Szalinski in the 1989 feature film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; its sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid; and the 3-D film spin-off Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!, which was shown at several Disney theme parks through mid-2010.

Life and career[edit]

Strassman was born in New York City and raised in Passaic, New Jersey. Among her earliest acting credits was an appearance in an episode of The Patty Duke Show. In 1963, at age 15, she succeeded Liza Minnelli in the role of Ethel Hofflinger in the Off-Broadway musical Best Foot Forward.[1]

In 1967, she became a recording artist for Uni Records. Her debut single, "The Flower Children", was a top-40 hit in many West Coast U.S. markets, hitting #4 in San Diego and #2 in San Francisco; the track also hit #3 in Vancouver, British Columbia (both at CKLG 730 AM and CFUN 1410 AM in July 1967).[2] However, the single failed to break out nationally in either country; the record stalled at #105 in the U.S., and just sneaked into RPM's Top 100 for Canada, peaking at #95.[3]

Her follow-up release, "The Groovy World of Jack & Jill", charted in Denver, Colorado, but virtually nowhere else.[4] A third single, 1968's "Star Gazer" (produced by Kim Fowley), failed to chart anywhere and brought Strassman's brief recording career to a close. Returning to acting after a gap of a few years, she landed the recurring role of nurse Margie Cutler in six early episodes of M*A*S*H.

She landed her best-known role as Julie Kotter, the wife of title character high school teacher Gabe Kotter (Gabriel "Gabe" Kaplan) in the ABC comedy series Welcome Back, Kotter in 1975. The series lasted four years. Strassman was told that co-star Kaplan wanted her off the show and she stated in an interview that working on the show made her "miserable".[5] Kaplan read the interview and realized series producer James Komack was separately telling the two actors they didn't like each other, and Kaplan informed Strassman that he actually wanted more balance between Kotter's work and home environments, which would afford Strassman the chance to do more on the series. Kaplan, a guest host on The Tonight Show that week, had Strassman to tell the story as an interview guest; she recalled the incident decades later on a Biography Channel special about the history of Kotter.[6]

In the 1970s, Strassman appeared as a guest star on Time Express, The Rockford Files, The Love Boat and other primetime dramas. In 1980, she starred as Lenina Crowne in a television production of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. She co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Good Time Harry that year. She guest-starred several times on Magnum, P.I., first introduced in the episode "Heal Thyself", where she played Dr. Karen Harmon, a former nurse with whom the title character served in Vietnam. In 1982, she played Maria in the romantic comedy Soup for One.[7]

In 1989–90, she had a co-starring role in the 21 Jump Street spinoff, Booker, which starred Richard Grieco in the title role. Strassman also had movie roles as the wife of Rick Moranis' scientist character in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992). In 1994, she reprised her role from those movies in the 3-D film spin-off Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!. She later went on to play Nancy Sterngood in the TV show, Tremors (2003).

Death[edit]

In March 2007 Strassman was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that had spread to her bones. She died of the disease at her home in Sherman Oaks, California, on October 24, 2014. She was 66 years old, and is survived by her sister Julie, her brother Steven and her daughter, Elizabeth Collector.[7][8]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films
Year Title Role Notes
1969 Changes Kristine
1982 Soup for One Maria
1985 The Aviator Rose Stiller
1989 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Diane Szalinski
1991 Fast Getaway Lorraine
1991 And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird Sarah Carson
1992 Honey, I Blew Up the Kid Diane Szalinski Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1993 Another Stakeout Pam O'Hara
1994 Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! Diane Szalinski Short film
1995 Cops n Roberts
1996 Earth Minus Zero Debbie Heller
2002 Gale Force Kim Nelson
2003 The Movie Hero Blake's Mom
2003 Power Play Susan Breecher
2005 Reeker Rose Tuckey

Discography[edit]

  • "The Flower Children" / "Out Of The Picture" (1967)
  • "The Groovy World Of Jack & Jill" / "The Flower Shop" (1967)
  • "Self-Analysis" / "Star Gazer" (1968)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Best Foot Forward at the Internet Off-Broadway Database.
  2. ^ "From the Music Capitals of the World". Billboard: 7. July 15, 1967. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents: Across The Charts The 1960s. Record Research. p. 371. ISBN 978-0898201758. 
  4. ^ Marcia Strassman profile, las-solanas.com; accessed October 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Windeler, Robert (November 6, 1978). "A Set Becomes a Set-to as Mrs. Kotter Takes on Gabe, and the Sweathogs Take Sides". People 10 (19). ISSN 0093-7673. 
  6. ^ "Welcome Back Kotter/The Facts of Life/Roseanne". Biography. Episode 1-06. 22 April 2008. A&E.
  7. ^ a b "Marcia Strassman dies at 66; actress starred in 'Welcome Back, Kotter'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Marcia Strassman, Wife on ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]