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B: 1928-08-21
D: 2019-05-18
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B: 1934-04-26
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Verna Cocks

Verna Frances Cocks (Bloom)

Sunday, August 7th, 1938 - Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
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Obituary

BAR HARBOR, MAINE - Verna Bloom, an actress whose career in film took her from the real streets of the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention through the slapstick campus of Faber College and the hill of Golgotha, died today after a long illness. She was 80 years old.

The cause was complications of dementia, her family stated.

Although she appeared extensively in theater and television, she is most noted for her film work. She appeared in three films by Martin Scorsese—STREET SCENES 1970, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and AFTER HOIURS—and two by Clint Eastwood: THE HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and HONKYTONK MAN. Her film debut was in 1969, in Haskell Wexler’s MEDIUM COOL, in which she played a young Appalachian mother caught up in the street violence of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

“She was not only a wonderful actress,” Wexler said. “She was fearless. I was more frightened than she was.” Wexler inserted her character into the real and threatening turmoil unfolding on the streets, filming the fiction as if it were a documentary, but after the first day, out of concern for her safety, he did not want her to return. She insisted, and prevailed. The image of her in a yellow dress searching for her lost son among the protestors, tear gas, tanks and armed soldiers, has become an indelible artifact of those divisive times.

Bloom was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1938. After graduating from Boston Universirty, she moved to Denver and started a local theater where she helped produce and stage a number of modern classics, including LOOK BACK IN ANGER and A TASTE OF HONEY. Moving to New York in the mid—1960s, she starred as Charlotte Corday in the Broadway revival of MARAT/SADE and, shortly after, on the recommendation of the writer/historian Studs Terkel, was cast by Wexler in MEDIUM COOL.

Following the release of that film, she appeared in Peter Fonda’s elegiac Western THE HIRED HAND—a personal favorite of hers—and later, in the role for which she is most popularly known, as the drunken debauched wife of the beleaguered Dean Wormer in John Landis’s ANIMAL HOUSE. She followed the surprising but breakaway success of that film with two more films by her close friend Scorsese, and then fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring with Frank Sinatra in the two-part television film CONTRACT ON CHERRY STREET.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, the screenwriter Jay Cocks, and her son Sam, a prosecutor in the Special Victims Bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s office.

Her family requests that any contributions be made online in her name to Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue.
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Deborah Greenblatt

Posted at 06:15am
Dear Family, My heart goes out to your family. Verna and her sister lived next door to us in Lynn, and for years, they were our parents "go to" babysitters. When Medium Cool was released, my father insisted that we go see it, even though it was rated "X". He said we should support the arts. I particularly remember a little toy tiger that Verna gave me. When I was studying at Boston University, I remember going to the library and checking out a play that Verna had used when a student there. I relished the opportunity to read her penciled notes! Sincerely, Deborah Greenblatt Avoca, Nebraska
EE

Emily E.

Posted at 07:52pm
Dear family, I would like to offer my sympathy for your great loss of Miss Verna. May there be many happy years to look back on in the days ahead. It is my hope that you receive comfort from the Promise given to Miss Verna from God. This Promise is at Acts 24:15 . Also, a very comforting hope is written at Revelation 21:4.. "And HE will wipe out every tear from their eyes , and death will be no more ,neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore." May those words help to sooth your grieving hearts .
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