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Actress, longtime CalArts teacher was 84 – The Hollywood Reporter

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Fran Bennett, a veteran actress who taught voice and drama at CalArts for 36 years, died over the weekend, the school reported. She was 84 years old.

Known for her booming voice, Bennett was a Linklater Voice faculty member at CalArts from 1978 until her retirement in 2014. She also served as Head of Game and Director of Performance from 1996 to 2003.

“Fran’s voice was unequivocal. She never hesitated to use it. And she has taught so many people over the years to find and release theirs, ”Dean Travis Preston of the CalArts School of Theater said in a press release.

“Before there were diversity committees and staff at CalArts, there was Fran. She has consistently stood up for students, artists and innovators from all walks of life and demanded that leaders do more to serve the excluded and the excluded. “

Born August 14, 1937 in Malvern, Arkansas, Bennett received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

She studied voice with Scottish actress Kristin Linklater at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and movement with Austrian actress Litz Pisk in London, then returned to Guthrie to spend 12 years there as director of voice and movement. .

Bennett made his screen debut on the CBS soap opera Guiding light in 1965 and continued to appear on Roots: the next generations, Lou Grant, Saint-Elsewhere, Cagney & Lacey, Dynasty, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum leap, In the heat of the Night, Becker, Community and Scandal.

In 2019, she portrayed Mother Jefferson on The Jeffersons segment of Live in front of a studio audience.

His cinematic CV included Promises in the dark (1979), by Wes Craven The most recent nightmare (1994), Foxfire (1996), Leave it to the beaver (1997), 8MM (1999), The next best Thing (2000), Jessabelle (2014) and the next The manor.

For the stage, Bennett was a member of the classical theater company Antaeus, a founding member of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, and winner of an Ovation Award and a NAACP Theater Award.

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