NEW YORK — Eileen Heckart, a drama and comedy actress who won an Oscar in 1972 for "Butterflies are Free," died of cancer Monday at her home in Norwalk, Connecticut, the New York Times reported. She was 82.
Heckart, who had a smoky voice and a toothsome smile, was also widely known for her television appearances as Mary Richards' Aunt Flo — a globe-trotting reporter — on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Apart from the Oscar for best supporting actress, Heckart won three Emmys and in 2000 she received a special lifetime achievement Tony Award for her theater performances. In interviews over the years, Heckart said her heart belonged to the stage.
She performed in the Broadway plays "Picnic" (1953) and "The Bad Seed" (1955). In 1965, she created the role of the disapproving mother in the Broadway production of "Barefoot in the Park."
Heckart made her film debut in 1956 in "Miracle in the Rain," and she also appeared the same year in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and as Marilyn Monroe's actress friend in "Bus Stop."
She was born Anna Eileen Heckart in Columbus, Ohio, on March 29, 1919. Her parents separated when she was 2 years old and she lived with her mother, who married five times.
Heckart is survived by three sons. Two live in Connecticut and the other in Los Angeles. Her husband, John Harrison Yankee Jr., to whom she was married 53 years, died in 1997.