Darlanne Fluegel, the Ford Agency model-turned-actress who appeared in a number of films in the 1980s including Once Upon A Time In America and Running Scared has died. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the actress passed away on December 15 at her home in Orlando, FL after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 64.
Fluegel transitioned from modeling to acting ion 1978, when she appeared in the Irvin Kershner-directed thriller The Eyes Of Laura Mars. She would later joke that modeling prepared her for her role which she described as “a New York model being chased by a weirdo.””
The 1980s was the peak decade for Fluegel’s on-screen career. Although she started off the decade in Roger Corman’s Star Wars/Magnificent Seven pastiche Battle Beyond The Stars (1980), she soon found her self in more prestigious roles such as DeNiro’s girlfriend in Sergio Leone’s 1984 gangster epic Once Upon A Time In America. Her role as a junkie police informant in William Friedkin’s To Live And Die In LA (1985), led director Peter Hyams to cast her as Billy Crystal’s ex-wife in the buddy cop comedy Running Scared (1986). She also appeared as Kirk Douglas’ girlfriend in 1986’s Tough Guys.
Fluegel also had two notable roles on television in the 1980s. On the crime drama Crime Story, she portrayed the wife of Dennis Farina’s police officer character. She also appeared as Fred Dryer’s police officer partner on the NBC drama Hunter.
Born November 25, 1953 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fluegel was raised in Binghamton, NY. She began her modelling career at age 18 when she moved to Manhattan. She also studied acting under Stella Adler. In the 1990s, she left Hollywood for Florida where she opened her own acting school as well as taught at the University of Central Florida, She was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2010.