Susan Anspach, the blonde actress known for her roles in ‘70s films including Bob Rafaelson’s “Five Easy Pieces,” Paul Mazursky’s “Blume in Love,” and Woody Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam,” died Monday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 75.
Anspach’s son, Caleb Goddard, announced her death to the New York Times and said the cause was coronary failure.
In “Five Easy Pieces,” Anspach played a serious pianist who had a steamy sex scene with Jack Nicholson despite being engaged to his brother; in “Play It Again, Sam,” she played Allen’s critical ex-wife. In Dusan Makavayev’s 1981 “Montenegro,” she played a disturbed housewife, and in “Blume in Love” she portrayed the ex-wife of George Segal’s character who he tries to win back.
Later in her career, Anspach landed recurring roles on television series. She appeared in the family drama “The Yellow Rose,” the 13-hour mini-series “Space” and the comedy “The Slap Maxwell Story.”
Raised in Queens, New York, Anspach graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School before becoming involved with musical theater. She starred in multiple Broadway and off-Broadway shows, such as “Hair” and “A View from the Bridge” with Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. Her first feature role was in Hal Ashby’s “The Landlord.”
Anspach last appeared in the family drama “Wild About Harry” and the 2010 thriller “Inversion.”
She publicly claimed Jack Nicholson as Goddard’s father, but “The Shining” actor has never confirmed the paternity, and later tangled with Anspach in court over repayment of substantial loans he made to her.
She was married to actor Mark Goddard, who adopted her children, from 1970 to 1978; her second husband was musician Sherwood Ball, whom she divorced in 1986.
She is survived by son Caleb Goddard; daughter, Catherine; and three grandchildren.