Sondra Locke, Oscar-nominated actor, dies aged 74

Locke, who had turbulent relationship with Clint Eastwood, died on November 3rd after battle with cancer

Sondra Locke, who received an Oscar nomination for her first film and starred in a series of movies with Clint Eastwood, with whom she had a turbulent relationship, died November 3rd at her home in Los Angeles. She was 74. The cause was cardiac arrest caused by brain and bone cancer, according to The Associated Press, which cited a death certificate. Locke was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her first film, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, a 1968 drama based on a novel by Carson McCullers. She went on to star in several movies with Eastwood in the 1970s and 1980s, including their first film together, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Sudden Impact, part of the Dirty Harry thriller series.

Locke and Eastwood’s romance began on the set of their first film together, and they lived together for more than a decade. After the couple split, Locke sued Eastwood twice, turning their breakup into a high-profile court battle in the 1990s, according to news reports from the time.

In a 1997 autobiography that detailed their relationship, The Good, the Bad & the Very Ugly, Locke wrote that her involvement with Eastwood ended up essentially derailing her career, according to an article about the book in the Washington Post. Around the time of the lawsuits she learned she had breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy, the review said.

A list of survivors was not immediately available. Locke got her big break in the 1960s when Warner Bros took notice of her during a talent search for an actor to play the adolescent protagonist of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. In an interview with the New York Times printed in 1983, Locke said her entrance into Hollywood was based on luck. "In Los Angeles, I learned quickly that it really doesn't make much difference whether you're the best for the part, or whether you have talent," she said in the article. "It's a matter of some fluky thing that can't be described." But Locke dreamed of developing and directing films herself. In the interview with the Times, she said her professional entanglement with Eastwood made that goal difficult to attain. "You get into a rut being associated with Clint," she had said.


In 1986, Locke made her directorial debut in a film called Ratboy, which had a satirical edge. After many years off the screen, Locke starred in Ray Meets Helen, a film released in the United States this year. – New York Times