Eileen Brennan died today. She was 80.
I know Brennan best as Mrs. Peacock from 1985's Clue. I've watched that movie a million times, so her face will forever be ingrained in my brain with that obnoxious feather hat and sour puss. I love it. Brennan was an accomplished stage and film actress. Her later career was devoted to television. As I look over her filmography, I am ashamed that I haven't seen more of her films.
Brennan was nominated for a BAFTA for her role as Genevieve in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. She went on to reprise the role in the unofficial sequel, Texasville.
Didn't know Brennan could sing? An accomplished soprano, Brennan starred in the off-Broadway production of Little Mary Sunshine in 1959. Watch her sing "La Vie en Rose" in Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective from 1978. She slinks around the stage like a cat and gets the audience to sing with her.
"Now just me!"
Brennan was nominated for an Oscar for playing Captain Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin alongside Goldie Hawn. She went on to reprise her role in the television spinoff of the same name, and she earned herself an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.
She starred in a slew of television including Murder, She Wrote, Magnum P. I., Taxi (Emmy nomination), Newhart, The Love Boat, and Mad About You. The list goes on an on. The television role I most identify her with is as Zandra on Will & Grace. Zandra, Jack's acting coach, was so surly that you didn't know if she was going to chase you out of the room or throw a lit cigarette at you ("Don't you mean zigarette?"). She was also nominated for an Emmy for that role.
I am sure I am missing soooo much. Brennan had such amazing comic timing. Not very many people come close to her.
I will share my favorite Mrs. Peacock moment with you! Lucky! Near the beginning of the movie, Mr. Boddy is passing out the weapons to all the guests. Next time you watch the movie, watch Eileen Brennan the entire time. Mrs. Peacock is the last to receiver her present, but the entire time she looks unbelievably disappointed that a parcel hasn't been passed to her. Anxious even. When Boddy hands Peacock her gift, she mouths, "For me?! Ooooh!" It's my favorite moment of hers in the movie.
Rest in peace, Eileen. I hope you and Madeline Kahn are sharing lots of laughs.