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Eileen Brennan dead at 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 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. She was 80.

Brennan's managers, Jessica Moresco and Al Onorato, said she died Sunday at home in Burbank after a battle with bladder cancer.

"Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and respect for Eileen," her family said in a statement. "She was funny and caring and truly one of a kind. Her strength and love will never be forgotten."

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. Along with her "excellent singing voice," her performance was "radiant and comic," said a New York Times review.

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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