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Eileen Brennan – MovieActors.com

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About Eileen Brennan
(1932 – 2013)

Verla Eileen Regina Brennan was born on September 3rd, 1932, in Los Angeles, California. Her Irish Catholic parents were mother Regina (Jeanne) Manahan (or Menehan), a minor silent film player and father John Gerald Brennan who was a Doctor.

Eileen attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C where she was in several plays with the Mask and Bauble Society. She also studied acting at

Eileen then studied at the American Academy of Dramatic arts in New York. During this time she won an Obie Award as well as the Theatre World Award for "Promising New Personality".

Eileen was a comedian with a beautiful soprano singer and these talents launched her career with the operetta "Little Mary Sunshine."

Eileen Brennan continued to work successfully on Broadway until 1966 when she went to Hollywood, though she still did some stage work, but not as much. In 1989, she played Miss Hannigan on a stage production of ANNiE.

Brennan was married once to David John Lampson, from 1968 until their divorce in 1974. They had 2 sons: Basketball player Patrick Brennan; (Patrick Oliver Lampson), and Singer Samuel John Lampson. Brennan never married again.

Brennan's most popular roll was as Captain Doreen Lewis in both the 1980 film, PRIVATE BENJAMIN, and in the 1981 television series with the same title. Brennan earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Captain Doreen Lewis, and a Primetime Emmy and a Golden Globe for her same portrayal in the TV series.

Brennan shared this about her role as Captain Doreen Lewis, in an interview. "I love meanies, and this goes back to Captain Lewis. You know why? Because they have no sense of humor. People who are mean or unkind or rigid - think about it - cannot laugh at themselves. If we can't laugh at ourselves and the human condition, we're going to be mean."

In 1982, Brennan was hit by a car, and it took her three years to recover. Brennan was replaced on the Private Benjamin TV show. Brennan developed an addiction to pain killers, but she beat it.

Brennan shared her feelings about this whole, evolving experience.
"Everyone hits bottom their own way. Mine came through my accident, which led to my pill addiction, which led to my birth. I say birth rather than rebirth because I feel born new. I reestablished a spiritual connection that is lost when you are taking any kind of drug. Strangely enough, I wouldn't have missed my accident. It just knocks me out to say that, but I mean it."

After Brennan recovered, she was cast in the film, CLUE, proving she still had her acting and comedic chops.

Eileen passed on July 28th, 2013, from bladder cancer, at the age of 80.

Eileen Brennan's notable movie credits include...

NAKEN RUN (2011)
THE KINGS OF APPLETOWN (2009)
MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED & FABULOUS (2005)
THE AMATEURS (2005)
THE HALLOW (2004)
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2003)
COMIC BOOK VILLAINS (2002)
JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001)
DUMB LUCK (2001)
MOONGLOW (2000)
THE LAST GREAT RIDE (1999)
PANTS ON FIRE (1998)
CHANGING HABITS (1997)
TEXASVILLE (1990)
CLUE (1985)
PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1985)
FM (1978)
MUDER BY DEATH (1976)
MURDER BY DEATH (1976)
HUSTLE (1975)
AT LONG LAST LOVE (1975)
DAISY MILLER (1974)
THE STING (1973)
SCARECROW (1973)
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971)
ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN (1968) TV Series
DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE (1967)


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Eileen Brennan with Paul Newman
in THE STING (1973).


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Eileen Brennan in CLUE.

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Brennan in  PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980).

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Eileen Brennan in  MURDER BY DEATH (1976).