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Drawing on her youthful exposure to a fairy tale play put on while she was living in a displaced persons camp after World War II, Latvian-born actress Rutanya Alda took the escapist dream of acting to the American stage and screen, building a lengthy career of supporting parts. Born Rutanya Skrastina, she came to the United States after the war and made her first feature appearance in "Greetings," the Brian De Palma film featuring a young Robert De Niro. More small roles followed in notable 1970s films, including "The Panic in Needle Park" and "The Long Goodbye." Alda climbed the credits for the Oscar-winning 1978 Vietnam drama, "The Deer Hunter," playing the wife of Steven, John Savage's character. Her performance in two subsequent films, the abusive Hollywood upbringing tale "Mommie Dearest" and the horror sequel "Amityville II: The Possession" would earn her the dubious distinction of back-to-back nominations for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress. This didn't slow down her steady career however; she continued to play in a wide variety of films and television shows. Until his death after being struck by a New York City tour bus in 2006, she was married to actor Richard Bright, a frequent crook, cop, or enforcer in such classic films as "The Getaway" and "The Godfather."
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