Sondra Locke, the Oscar-nominated actress and director known for her long association with Clint Eastwood, has died at the age of 74.
Locke died of cardiac arrest stemming from breast and bone cancer at her home in Los Angeles, according to a death certificate obtained by The Associated Press. The actress’ death went unpublicized for nearly six weeks until Radar Online reported on it Thursday.
After making her big-screen debut in 1968’s Carson McCullers adaptation The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – a role she won after a nationwide talent search – Locke earned both a Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Locke would also appear in 1971’s Willard and TV series like Kung Fu and Barnaby Jones before she was cast in the Clint Eastwood-directed Western The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976; soon after, Eastwood and Locke embarked on a romantic relationship and on-screen partnership that resulted in five more films: 1977’s The Gauntlet, 1978’s Every Which Way But Loose and its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can, 1980’s Bronco Billy and 1983’s “Dirty Harry” sequel Sudden Impact.
Following the dissolution of their relationship in 1989, Locke sued Eastwood for palimony; as part of their settlement, the actress – who directed the 1986 film Ratboy for Eastwood’s Malpaso production company – was given a three-year deal to develop and direct her own films at Warner Bros., which housed Malpaso.
However, all 30 projects she pitched to the studio were rejected, leading to a second lawsuit where she accused Eastwood of concocting the “bogus” deal, the Hollywood Reporter writes. The two eventually settled for $2.5 million in 1996. The following year, Locke published her memoir The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly – a play on the classic spaghetti Western – that detailed her relationship with Eastwood as well as her own battle with breast cancer.
The actress only appeared in three more movies after starring in Ratboy, but Locke would also go on to direct the 1990 psychological drama Impulse and the 1997 indie film Do Me a Favor.