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Private Benjamin's Eileen Brennan Dead at 80

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Jul. 31 2013, Published 9:38 a.m. ET

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Eileen Brennan, who went from musical comedy on Broadway to wringing laughs out of memorable characters in such films as Private Benjamin and Clue, has died at age 80 of bladder cancer.

Brennan got her first big role on the New York stage in Little Mary Sunshine, a musical comedy that won her the 1960 Obie award for best actress. But it was a series of sharp-tongued roles that won her fans on television and in movies, including gruff Army Capt. Doreen Lewis in 1980's Private Benjamin, aloof Mrs. Peacock in 1985's Clue, and mean orphanage superintendent Miss Bannister in 1988's The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

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