Yesterday, I sent out a notice that Karen Black‘s husband was asking people for money to help Karen get to Europe for some treatments that could save her life.
Karen–Oscar nominated for Five Easy Pieces and the star of many other films–has cancer, and is down to 96 pounds after having part of her pancreas removed, plus going through chemo and radiation.
Karen has a modest pension and some insurance, but hubby says they’ve basically gone through their savings fighting the disease and needed help.
And they made the money! Her fans remembered and came through! As of yesterday, they made their goal. (Though I see they’ve now made the goal higher than it was. Hubby says that anything extra will go towards him going to Europe as well.)
And I’m heartened because we love Karen for a lot of things:
Easy Rider. Five Easy Pieces (She was Rayette, and unforgettable.)
Helping land the plane with eyes crosed in Airport ’75.
Her immortal performance as bristling country diva Connie White in Nashville.
Playing four oppressed women in Trilogy of Terror.
Myrtle in Gatsby.
Playing the transsexual Joanne in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
Bringing glamour and pathos to one of my favorite films, The Day of the Locust.
Holding her own against Bette Davis (Burnt Offerings) and Hitchcock (Family Plot). In the latter, she seemed very transsexual-esque all over again. See above photo.
And then the period where she became the queen of indie movies, many of them going straight to DVD, but all of them graced with the presence of a supremely unique being.
Since Scientology doesn’t seem to be stepping in and saving Karen’s ass, I’m glad her fans did. Karen’s always been way out there–never earthbound–as I found when I tried to interview her years ago and couldn’t quite get a grasp on her, she was that evasive and elusive.
But that’s her charm. She’s a sprite, a waif, a naif, a kook, a spirit.
Thank you everyone for giving her this trip.