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Sada Thompson
© AP
Sada Thompson of TV's 'Family' dies

MSN Entertainment

Emmy award-winning actress Sada Thompson died May 4 at the age of 81.

Find: More on Sada Thompson's career

Thompson was probably best known for her role as Kate Lawrence in the 1970s TV drama "Family," which also starred James Broderick and Kristy McNichol. Thompson received four Emmy nominations for her portrayal of the level-headed matriarch of the Lawrence family, winning in 1978. She also received three Golden Globe nominations for her role as Kate Lawrence. "Family" ran from 1976 to 1980 and also starred Meredith Baxter and Gary Frank.

More: Stars we've lost in 2011

Thompson also drew praise for her stage career, winning a Tony award in 1972 for the comedy "Twigs."

After "Family" went off the air, Thompson played a variety of TV roles -- usually mothers -- in shows ranging from "The Love Boat" to "Father Dowling Mysteries" to "Cheers." According to, her last movie role was in "Pollock," the 2000 biopic on artist Jackson Pollock, playing Stella Pollock.

Previous news reports gave Thompson's age as 83, but according to her entry, she was 81.