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Oscar nominee and Park Ridge native Karen Black dies

There’s sad news about Park Ridge native Karen Black. The 74-year-old actress’ husband Stephen Eckelberry has posted a note on Facebook confirming the death of the Oscar nominated actress at a hospice/nursing facility in California. The actress had succumbed to a long battle with cancer that had spread throughout her body — destroying the nerves in her lower back and causing her to lose functionality in her left leg.

Eckelberry’s Facebook posting stated, “It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend, Karen Black has just passed away, only a few minutes ago,” he wrote. “Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me.”

Black left Northwestern University after two years in the 1950s to pursue an acting career. She became a star with the groundbreaking film “Easy Rider” in 1969. She went on to receive an Oscar nomination the following year for “Five Easy Pieces.”

Among her other notable roles were the 1974 version of “The Great Gatsby” and “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.”