Margaret Whitton, who was best known for her villainous role in Major League, died Sunday, December 4, according to multiple reports. She was 67.
The actress died at her home in Palm Beach, Florida, after a brief battle with cancer, Steven Tabakin, her friend and Tashtego Films producing partner told The Hollywood Reporter.
Born in Philadelphia, in November 1949, Whitton first stepped into the spotlight at the American Place Theatre when she starred in the Off Broadway 1973 play Baba Goya alongside Olympia Dukakis. She appeared in several New York theater productions before making her Broadway debut in 1982’s Steaming, and later starred in 1996’s The Apple Doesn’t Fall … and 1999’s Marlene.
The actress was also known for several onscreen roles. In Major League (1989) and Major League II (1994), she starred as Rachel Phelps, a former Las Vegas showgirl who becomes the spiteful owner of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. She also starred in 1986’s The Best of Times, 1987’s The Secret of My Success and 1993’s The Man Without a Face.
Whitton’s role in the Major League films was a nod to her real-life love of baseball. Her husband, Warren Spector, told The New York Times that she was a New York Yankees fan and had season tickets to the old Yankee Stadium, but saw the new stadium, which opened in April 2009, as “soulless.”
The redhaired beauty also worked as a TV actress with appearances in The Doctors, A Fine Romance and Good & Evil.
In the 1990s, Whitton left acting to become a director, making her feature film directing debut with 2011’s A Bird of the Air.
Whitton is survived by Spector, her second husband, sisters Suzy Liss and Mary Beth Whitton, and brothers James and John Whitton. She was previously married to cabinetmaker Bill Russell.
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