August 7, 1939
Lynn, Massachusetts, United States
January 9, 2019
Bar Harbor, Maine, United States
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American actress Verna Bloom found fame with roles in some of the most iconic films of her time. A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, she studied acting in Boston and New York before embarking on a career in television and film. Small roles on TV shows, including "NBC Experiment in Television" (NBC, 1967-71) and "N.Y.P.D." (ABC, 1967-69) soon followed. Her profile jumped significantly when she starred alongside Robert Forster in the drama "Medium Cool" (1969). The film centered on the political upheaval at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Along with her husband, writer Jay Cocks, and Harvey Keitel, she was filmed for Martin Scorsese's documentary "Street Scenes" (1970). After starring in the Peter Fonda directed western, "The Hired Hand" (1971), Bloom stepped into a permanent spot in that genre's history. Playing opposite Clint Eastwood, she starred in "High Plains Drifter" (1973). The western, the second feature directed by Eastwood, quickly became a modern classic. She starred in the TV disaster film "Where Have All the People Gone?" (NBC, 1974) and the drama "Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic" (NBC, 1975). The actress then settled into a string of television guest appearances. She took on roles on programs such as "Kojak" (CBS, 1973-78) and "Lou Grant" (CBS, 1977-82), and appeared with Frank Sinatra and Martin Balsam in the television film "Contract on Cherry Street" (NBC, 1977). It was a role in a comedy that would become a generational touchstone, though, that cemented her place in pop culture. Bloom filmed the small role of Marion Wormer for John Landis's "Animal House" (1978). Playing the wife of John Vernon's Dean Wormer, who is seduced by frat boy Tim Mathis, the actress would forever be associated with the role. She reunited with Eastwood for his country music drama "Honkytonk Man" (1982). She went on to star in Scorsese's "After Hours" (1985), and then was cast by the director as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in his adaptation of "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988). She made periodic television appearance thereafter, the last of which was a guest role on "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) in 2003. Bloom passed away on January 9, 2019 from complications brought on by dementia.