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Darlanne Fluegel Obituary

11/25/1953 - 12/15/2017| Visit Guest Book
Darlanne Fluegel (MGM / Everett Collection)
Darlanne Fluegel (MGM / Everett Collection)
During the 1980s it was hard to miss stunning actress Darlanne Fluegel. She shared the big screen with acting legends Robert De Niro and Kirk Douglas, and was a fixture on TV crime dramas. In her later years she worked as a college professor, educating another generation hopeful actors and filmmakers.

Darlanne Fluegel, died Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at her home in Orlando, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, her daughter told The Hollywood Reporter. She was 64. She had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 56.

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Fluegel was born Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised along with her five siblings in Binghamton, New York. An independent-minded tomboy, she began modeling as a teenager as a way to earn money following the death of her father when she was 16. At 18 she moved to New York City and signed with legendary modeling agent, Eileen Ford.

With her blonde hair and photogenic face, she was beautiful enough to be cast on looks alone, but Fluegel was serious about her ambition to become an actor and studied with acclaimed instructor Stella Adler.

“She approached her acting scientifically,” Ford said in a 1986 article about Fluegel in People magazine. “She worked at it and didn’t let the hype go to her head. A lot of models wouldn’t have done that.”

Coincidentally, her first role was playing a model in the 1978 film, “Eyes of Laura Mars.” She followed that up by appearing in producer Roger Corman’s low-budget “Star Wars”-inspired space opera, “Battle Beyond the Stars.”

She shared screen time with Robert De Niro in “Once Upon a Time in America,” Kirk Douglas in “Tough Guys,” and Billy Crystal in “Running Scared.” She also had a memorable turn as a police informant in the 1985 action thriller “To Live and Die in L.A.”

On TV she appeared in the pilot episode of “MacGyver,” and played police officer Denis Farina’s wife in the first season of “Crime Story.” The short-lived series was ahead of its time, telling the kind of season-long serialized story popular in today’s TV dramas.

She also co-starred in the final season of the crime drama “Hunter.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Police Department included Fluegel in a 2010 event celebrating female officers.

Although rarely seen on screen after the 1990s, she continued to share her passion for the craft of acting with students in her own classes and as a professor at University of Central Florida. She encouraged aspiring actors to release their inhibitions and be aware of, and receptive to, what they experience in life.

“It could be the greatest thing you could do,” she animatedly told an audience at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A., in 2011. “Just being in your life, talking to people, just doing what you’re doing, let it bring into you. Bring it back in.”

Fluegel is survived by her daughter, Jenna Carey, and son, Coulter.

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