Actress Jill Clayburgh passed away at her Lakeville, Connecticut home on Friday at the age of 66, marking the end of a 21-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Her husband, Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe, noted that she fought the disease courageously and privately -- not even co-stars in recent films knew that she was sick -- making it "an opportunity for her children to grow and be human." But her long and silent fight with cancer wasn't the only mark of Clayburgh's strength.

Today's audiences might know her as Tish Darling from the late television series 'Dirty Sexy Money,' or Agnes Finch in 'Running with Scissors,' but Clayburgh's career spanned over forty years, boasting seventy credits, two Oscar nominations and a Cannes festival win for Best Actress. But it isn't the awards that mark the indelible impact of Clayburgh's craft -- it's her starring role in Paul Mazursky's 'An Unmarried Woman.'

Her time as Erica showed off her considerable talents, for sure, but the film also offered up something infinitely more important -- a role model, a source of inspiration and strength to the women who watched her.
categories Columns, Cinematical