Verna Bloom, Animal House & High Plains Drifter Star, Dies at 80
Posted 2019/01/11 1 0
After a battle with dementia, actress Verna Bloom has sadly passed away. She was 80 years old. She died on January 9th in Bar Harbor, Maine, according to her family, but no other details have been revealed. The actress appeared in a number of TV shows and movies over the years, but Bloom is probably best-known for starring in 1973’s High Plains Drifter alongside Clint Eastwood. However, her role as the drunken wife to Dean Wormer, Marion Wormer, in 1978’s Animal House is arguably her most memorable role.
Verna Bloom was born in 1938 in Lynn, Massachusetts, where she later attended and graduated from Boston University. After graduation, Bloom left Massachusetts for Denver, Colorado, which is where she started a local theater. In the 1960s, she moved to New York, and when her acting career started with her role as Charlotte Corday in the Broadway revival of Marat/Sade. After stints on Broadway and theater performances, she made her first jump into the land of film after Studs Terkel urged her to do so, making her big screen debut in Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool in 1969.
Verna Bloom went on to star in Children’s Games, also in 1969 before starring in Martin Scorsese’s Vietnam protest documentary Street Scenes, also known as Street Scenes 1970. She starred as herself and went on to work with Scorsese two more times with After Hours in 1985 and 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ. It was also during this time that Bloom worked with Clint Eastwood on Honkytonk Man in 1982, nearly ten years after they first worked together in High Plains Drifter.
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John Landis’s iconic 1978 comedy Animal House introduced Verna Bloom to a whole new audience as Marion Wormer. Her character’s husband, the Dean of Faber College, tried to kick the mischievous Deltas from campus throughout the whole movie. However, Mrs. Wormer didn’t mind the Deltas as much and dropped by one of the frat’s toga parties. Bloom’s drunken character sleeps with Tim Matheson’s Otter character in a room covered in cheetah print. While this was the role that Bloom became best-known for, it wasn’t her favorite role that she had during her lengthy career, which also included episodes of Cagney and Lacey and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Verna Bloom’s favorite role happened one year before Animal House in 1977 when she accomplished a lifelong goal to star alongside Frank Sinatra. The duo starred in the made-for-TV movie Contract on Cherry Street. Bloom continued to act throughout the 80s and 90s, appearing in TV shows. Her last role came in 2003 for an episode of West Wing, which was her first role in a decade. Bloom is survived by her husband of 49 years, Jay Cocks, who wrote Gangs of New York, and her son Sam. Variety was the first to announce the news of Bloom’s death. Rest In Peace, Verna Bloom.
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Verna Bloom. @Variety remembers her here: https://t.co/uqoYNdMQhF
— TCM (@tcm) January 11, 2019
RIP Verna Bloom pic.twitter.com/yIwCDgCvHg
— Ian W. Hill (@geminicollision) January 10, 2019
RIP Verna Bloom of MEDIUM COOL, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, Marion Wormer in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE, Martin Scorsese’s AFTER HOURS and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. pic.twitter.com/WfFH6VwuRD
— Peter Avellino (@PeterAPeel) January 10, 2019
RIP the great Verna Bloom – star of two of my favorite films of the New Hollywood era “The Hired Hand” and “Medium Cool” https://t.co/SijLaIjvnGpic.twitter.com/xS25SXfwEE
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) January 10, 2019
rip verna bloom of the hired hand, medium cool, high plains drifter, and after hours. pic.twitter.com/h2DXJRL8a8
— Brad Adkins (@realbradadkins) January 10, 2019
In The Hired Hand Verna Bloom gives one of my favourite performances of all time. If you haven’t seen it remedy that, if you have give it another spin. RIP pic.twitter.com/frtEy6894D
— FILMGRABBER (@filmgrabber) January 10, 2019
Very saddened by the passing of Verna Bloom, a great actor and lovely person. Her work in “Medium Cool,” “The Hired Hand,” “Last Temptation,” and more (and sure, that includes “Animal House”) is as honest and human as acting gets.
— Glenn Kenny (@Glenn__Kenny) January 10, 2019
I should not be on twitter today but I take a break to share my feeling that the Alternate ending to After Hours where Griffin Dunne enters Verna Bloom and is rebirthed ‘covered in goop’ on West Side Highway could really be a better ending for idk, anything, everything pic.twitter.com/gwI95uLvm1
— corinacopp (@ocorina) January 7, 2019
— David Soref (@davidsoref) January 10, 2019