Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 March 2020

Academy Award-nominated actress Sondra Locke dies aged 74

Locke co-starred in six films with Clint Eastwood, including 'The Outlaw Josey Wales'

Sondra Locke has died at the age of 74 at her home in Los Angeles 
Sondra Locke has died at the age of 74 at her home in Los Angeles 

Actress and director Sondra Locke, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her first film role in 1968's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and went on to co-star in six films with Clint Eastwood, has died.

Locked died on November 3 at her Los Angeles home after she went into cardiac arrest stemming from breast and bone cancer, according to a death certificate obtained by The Associated Press. She was 74. It is not clear why it took nearly six weeks for her death to be reported.

Locke was best known for the six films she made with Eastwood, whom she dated for 13 years, starting with the Western The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976 and ending with the Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact in 1983.

Clint Eastwood with Sondra Locke in 1981. Photo: AP
Clint Eastwood with Sondra Locke in 1981. Photo: AP

Born Sandra Louise Smith – she would later take on a stepfather's last name and take on the stage name Sondra – Locke grew up in Tennessee, where she worked at a radio station and appeared in a handful of plays before winning a nationwide talent search in 1967 to be cast opposite leading man Alan Arkin in the movie adaptation of Carson McCullers's 1940 novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

She received critical acclaim for the role along with nominations for a Golden Globe and an Oscar. Both awards went to Ruth Gordon for Rosemary's Baby.

Locke had a run of minor film and TV roles until she met Eastwood on the set of The Outlaw Josey Wales, which he both directed and starred in. Her career would mirror his for the next several years. The pair's hit films also included the 1978 street-fighting and orangutan comedy Every Which Way But Loose and its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can.

Locke also played singer Rosemary Clooney in a 1982 TV biopic, and directed the 1986 film Ratboy, which flopped in the US but was popular with critics in Europe.

In 1989, Locke's relationship with Eastwood came to an end. The locks were changed and her things were placed outside a home she thought had been a gift from Eastwood.

She sued Eastwood for palimony then later sued him for fraud, saying a movie development deal he arranged for her was a sham to get her to drop the palimony suit. They settled the highly publicised lawsuit for an undisclosed amount during jury deliberations in 1996.

The following year she released her memoir, titled The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey, which also detailed the double mastectomy and chemotherapy that came with her first bout with breast cancer.

She told the AP at the time that the title, a play on one of Eastwood's films, was "applicable to the story".

"I try to cover the good years as well as the bad and the ugly," Locke said. "Also, that in even the worst ugly things there can sometimes be a lot that will make you a better person."

Locke married actor Gordon Anderson in 1967. According to her death certificate, the two were still legally married when she died, and he was the person who reported her death.


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