‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ Star Marcia Strassman Dead At 66

Marcia Strassman has died.

The 66-year-old succumbed to breast cancer on Sunday, according to a statement from Strassman’s sister, Julie Strassman.

“She was the funniest, smartest person I ever met,” said Julie of her sister in comments reported by Deadline. “And talented. She knew everything. Now I won’t be able to call her and ask her questions.”

According to Strassman’s sister, the actress arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 18. She was a New York City transplant, who grew up in New Jersey.

Early successes included The Groovy World of Jack and Jill and The Flower Children, as well as some time on TV shows like The Patty Duke Show and M.A.S.H.

Her first major success, however, came as the wife of Gabe Kaplan on TV’s Welcome Back, Kotter. She shared screen time with the show’s top comic relief, Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), as well as Vinnie Barbarino (series’ breakout John Travolta).

Palillo died in 2013 of a heart attack.

Over the brief but memorable run of Welcome Back, Kotter, the role of Marcia Strassman fluctuated in importance. In the beginning, she was a primary foil to Gabe Kaplan, the series’ lead.

After creative differences between Kaplan and the show’s producer, however, she took on more of a lead role in the fourth and final season, accepting a job as secretary at the school.

After Welcome Back, Kotter, Strassman found another measure of success on the big screen starring as Diane Szalinski in the Disney hits Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.

Strassman stayed busy throughout the 2000s, appearing in multiple episodes of Providence, Tremors and Third Watch on television and taking movie roles in Reeker, Power Play and The Movie Hero.

Twitter was active Sunday night with condolences for the star.

Aw dammit. Marcia Strassman died. She played the hot wife of an ugly guy but somehow invested it with dignity. http://t.co/QtjCaD9IlT

— Jaime J. Weinman (@weinmanj) October 27, 2014

Really sad to hear this news… http://t.co/R6Y4FWaONO