Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis on stage in “Mother Courage’’ last year.
Kevin Sprague
Olympia Dukakis on stage in “Mother Courage’’ last year.

Born in Lowell but raised in Arlington, Olympia Dukakis has had many memorable roles, but her signature performance was as Rose Castorini, the sardonic mother of Cher’s character in the 1987 film “Moonstruck,” earning her a passel of awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

It paved the way for her to play matrons or mothers of various ethnicities in such movies as “Steel Magnolias” (1989), “The Cemetery Club” (1993), “ Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995), and “Mother” (1995).

Dukakis, an Arlington High School grad, is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame, the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greek America Foundation and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2013.


The daughter of Greek immigrants Alexandra and Constantine S. Dukakis, she has one brother, Apollo, and is a cousin of former governor Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic candidate for president.

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She made her Broadway debut at age 30, and has performed in more than 130 stage productions around the country.

Dukakis was nominated for an Emmy for her performances in “Sinatra” and “Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City,” among her 40 television series, miniseries and guest-starring roles.

She has been married to actor Louis Zorich since 1962, and they have three children.