Darlanne Fluegel, a stunning model in the '70s who turned to acting, died December 15, 2017, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, her family confirmed on January 8, 2018.
She was 64.
Fluegel, who passed away at her Orlando home, had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's 10 years prior to her death.
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From 1974 until her retirement from the industry in 1981, Fluegel was an in-demand model, a profession that helped her segue into films when she accepted the role of happy-go-lucky model Lulu in the Faye Dunaway (b. 1941) thriller Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) — a scantily clad go-getter who winds up on the wrong end of an icepick wielded by a maniacal serial killer.
The role was dripping in '70s style, as was the movie, which is more fondly remembered for its audaciously chic fashions and then-au courant disco soundtrack than for its plot or acting.
Fluegel went on to star in the low-budget Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and the Fred Williamson (b. 1938)-directed The Last Fight (1983) before landing a series of solid roles in films and on TV that marked her flowering as a legit actress — Once Upon a Time in America (1984), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Running Scared (1986) and a gig as Kirk Douglas's (b. 1916) girlfriend in Tough Guys (1986).
Fluegel's first starring role was in the indie flick Freeway (1988). She was also a familiar face to TV fans as Julie Torello on Season 1 of Crime Story (1986-1987), as Officer Joanne Molenski on Hunter (1990-1991) and as Lacey on Wiseguy (1990).
The roles dried up for her by 1996. She made one more appearance, in the short No Worries (2008) before withdrawing from the business.