A dizzy comic presence in films and television in the early 1970s, actress Louise Lasser came to fame in “Take the Money and Run” (1969) and other early films by her then-husband Woody Allen before achieving stardom as a bewildered housewife on Norman Lear’s controversial “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” (syndicated, 1976-77). Lasser’s distracted, slightly anesthetized persona was perfect as the frazzled Mary, but the pressures of television soon drove her to abandon the series and plunge into an apparent psychological funk for several years. When she rebounded in the 1980s, an older, heavier Lasser segued into a string of neurotic matriarch roles, the best of which was as Ben Gazzara’s damaged wife in Todd Solondz’s “Happiness.” Though she never resumed the heights of her popularity in the 1970s, Lasser remained one of Hollywood’s most eclectic personas.
Born April 11, 1939 in New York City, she was the daughter of S. Jay Lesser, an author and tax expert, and his wife, Paula. Outwardly… read more