Susan Anspach, who graced the silver screen in the 1970s in titles like Five Easy Pieces and Blume in Love, died in her Los Angeles home on Monday. She was 75.
Her son, actor Caleb Goddard, announced the news to The New York Times, citing coronary failure as cause of death. Anspach is survived by Goddard, daughter Catherine, and her three grandchildren.
A native of Queens, New York, Anspach made her film debut in Hal Ashby’s 1970 film The Landlord, in which she acted opposite Beau Bridges as his on-screen sister. She had come off of television appearances on The Defenders, The Patty Duke Show, and The Doctors and the Nurses.
Anspach’s next film would be Five Easy Pieces, in which she played Catherine Van Oost, a pianist who shared a steamy encounter with Robert Dupea, played by Jack Nicholson. Anspach long claimed Goddard was Nicholson’s son, though the Shining actor didn’t acknowledge him. The two even sparred in court over unfilled repayment of loans he made to her.
She later appeared in Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, Paul Mazursky’s Blume in Love, and Dusan Makavejev’s Montenegro. Anspach also took to the stage, most notably in the original off-Broadway production of Hair (though she didn’t go along with the cast when it transitioned to Broadway). Lynn Kellogg took over as Sheila during that 1968-1972 run, and Beverly D’Angelo played the role in the 1979 film adaptation.
Anspach married actor Mark Goddard, who adopted her children; they divorced in 1978. She was married to musician Sherwood Ball from 1982-1988.