Eileen Heckart on March 29, 1919 in Columbus, Ohio to a family of Irish extraction. Heckart graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A. in drama.
She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 1972 movie, Butterflies Are Free and was nominated in 1956 for her performance as the bereaved, besotted Mrs. Daigle in The Bad Seed.
Heckart was familiar to TV audiences with starring roles in The Five Mrs. Buchanans, Annie McGuire, Out of the Blue, Trauma Center, Partners in Crime, "Backstairs at the White House" (as Eleanor Roosevelt), and guest spots on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (as journalist Flo Meredith, a role she carried over to a guest appearance on MTM's spinoff Lou Grant), Rhoda, Murder One, Cybill and many other shows.
A lifetime heavy smoker, she died of cancer on December 31, 2001, at her home in Norwalk, Connecticut, aged 82.
She was married to John Harrison Yankee Jr. from 1944 until his death in 1997; she is survived by her 3 children and 2 step-sisters.
Preceded by: Cloris Leachman for The Last Picture Show Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress 1972 for Butterflies Are Free Succeeded by: Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon