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Jill Clayburg Died of Chronic Leukemia at 66

November 6, 2010 (4:00 am) GMT
Surrounded by her family, the actress passed away at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut on Friday, November 5 after losing her longtime battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Oscar-nominated actress Jill Clayburgh died at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut on Friday, November 5 at the age of 66, The New York Times reported. Jill died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, with which she had lived for 21 years, her playwright husband David Rabe said.

David revealed that Jill had fought the disease courageously, quietly, privately and conducted herself with enormous grace. When she passed away, Jill was surrounded by her family. Jill is survived by David, whom she was wed for 31 years, son Michael Rabe, actress daughter and stepson Jason Rabe.

Jill was born in New York City and came from a privileged family. Her father, Albert Henry "Bill" Clayburgh, was vice president of two large companies and her mother, Julia Louise, was a secretary for Broadway producer David Merrick. Meanwhile, Jill's grandmother was an opera singer and New York socialite.

Professionally, Jill appeared in numerous Broadway productions in the 1960s and 1970s. She made her big screen debut in "The Wedding Party", which was filmed in 1963, and later rose to fame with her role in 1976 comedy-mystery "Silver Streak". Jill was nominated for best-actress Oscars for her role in 1978 film "An Unmarried Woman" and for comedy "Starting Over", starring opposite Burt Reynolds a year later.

In later years, Jill made guest appearances in small screen, including "Ally McBeal", "The Practice", "" and "". Starting in 2007, Jill was a member of the regular cast of "", which lasted two seasons. Of her acclaim, Jill once told The Times, "People think about me, 'This wonderful lucky woman, she's got it all'. But gee, that's how I feel about ."

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