‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ star Marcia Strassman dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marcia Strassman, who played Gabe Kaplan’s wife, Julie, on the 1970s sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter,” has died. She was 66.

Strassman died at her Sherman Oaks, California, home on Friday after battling breast cancer for seven years, her sister, Julie Strassman, said Sunday.

“They gave her 2 ½ years to live but she lasted much longer,” she said. “She was very courageous.”

Strassman had numerous roles on television and in film during her five-decade career.

She played nurse Margie Cutler on the first season of “M.A.S.H.” before her breakout role in “Welcome Back, Kotter.” The show was about a teacher returning to the tough high-school of his youth to teach a classroom full of misfits, including future movie star John Travolta.

She also played Rick Moranis’ wife in the Disney hit movie “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and its sequel, “Honey I Blew Up the Kid.”

Born on April 28, 1948, in New York City, Strassman began acting as a teen, replacing Liza Minnelli in the off-Broadway musical “Best Foot Forward.” She moved to Los Angeles at 18 and landed a steady stream of roles.

She was a member of the Screen Actors Guild national board, and was an active fundraiser for breast cancer research and other social causes, her sister Julie said.

Strassman is also survived by a daughter and a brother.

Plans for funeral services are pending.

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