Verna Bloom, the actress who played debauched wife Marion Wormer in “Animal House” and later portrayed Jesus’ mother in “The Last Temptation of Christ,” has died at age 80.
Bloom died Wednesday due to complications from dementia in Bar Harbor, Maine, family spokesman Mike Kaplan tells USA TODAY. She was surrounded by family including her husband of 49 years, screenwriter Jack Cocks, 74, and their son, Sam.
While she played a variety of roles throughout her screen and television acting career – a career that included collaborations with Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood – Bloom was most famous for her scene-stealing role in the 1978 comedy “Animal House,” playing the wife of Faber College’s Dean Wormer.
As the dean obsessed with kicking the film’s Delta Chi fraternity off campus, Marion had an affair with fraternity member Eric “Otter” Stratton (Tim Matheson).
Bloom made her film debut in 1969, in writer/director Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool,” playing a young Appalachian mother caught up in the street violence of Chicago’s 1968 Democratic Convention. She was nominated as both best actress and best supporting actress by the National Society of Film Critics for the role.
She starred in the 1973 Western “High Plains Drifter” one of two films with Eastwood. (The other was 1982’s “Honkytonk Man.”)
Alongside Willem Dafoe’s Jesus, Bloom starred as Mary in Scorsese’s 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ.” She appeared in two other films with her friend Scorsese, 1970’s “Street Scenes” and 1985’s “After Hours.”
Bloom made appearances in TV’s “The Equalizer,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Kojak” and “Bonanaza.”
Her final appearance was on an 2003 episode of “The West Wing.”