Actress Marcia Strassman has died at the age of 66, after a long struggle with cancer. Strassman’s best-known television role was as Julie Kotter on the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. For four seasons, from 1975 to 1979, she embodied the fantasy of the teacher’s wife as a warm, nurturing mother hen to her husband and his charges, managing to come across as charming and levelheaded while playing straight woman to the show’s star, Gabe Kaplan, and his lovable Sweathogs. Strassman was shifted closer to the center of the show in the fourth season, when Kaplan got into a contract dispute with the producers and started sitting out whole episodes.
Strassman also co-starred with Rick Moranis in the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and its 1992 sequel, Honey I Blew Up The Kid, playing the long-suffering wife to whom Moranis’ crackpot inventor makes his titular confessions.
Before Kotter, Strassman worked as a teenage model and performed as a singer-actress off-Broadway. Her most notable early TV role was as Nurse Margie Cutler, which she played for six episodes during the first season of M*A*S*H. She also appeared on such series as Ironside, The Rockford Files, Magnum, PI., Amazing Stories, Touched By An Angel, and played the female lead in the 1982 romantic comedy Soup For One.
Since being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in 2007, Strassman had remade herself in the public eye as a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness.