'Welcome Back, Kotter' star Marcia Strassman dies

Actress Marcia Strassman Dies At 66

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Marcia Strassman, who played Gabe Kaplan's wife, Julie, on the 1970s sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter," has died. She was 66.

Strassman died at her Sherman Oaks, California, home on Friday after battling breast cancer for seven years, her sister, Julie Strassman, said Sunday.

"They gave her 2 ½ years to live but she lasted much longer," she said. "She was very courageous."

Strassman had numerous roles on television and in film during her five-decade career.

She played nurse Margie Cutler on the first season of "MASH" before her breakout role in "Welcome Back, Kotter." The show was about a teacher returning to the tough high-school of his youth to teach a classroom full of misfits, including future movie star John Travolta.

She also played Rick Moranis's wife in the Disney hit movie "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" and its sequel, "Honey I Blew Up The Kid."

Born on April 28, 1948 in New York City, Strassman began acting as a teen, replacing Liza Minelli in the off-Broadway musical "Best Foot Forward. She moved to Los Angeles at 18 and landed a steady stream of roles.

She was a member of the Screen Actors Guild national board, and was an active fundraiser for breast cancer research and other social causes, her sister Julie said.

Strassman is also survived by a daughter and a brother.

Plans for funeral services are pending.

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'Welcome Back, Kotter' star Marcia Strassman dies
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 27: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Chicken a la Kotter' - Season Two - 1/27/77, Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) and Julie (Marcia Strassman) discussed his second job as a restaurant mascot. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 27: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Chicken a la Kotter' - Season Two - 1/27/77, Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) took a second job as a restaurant mascot. Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Freddie), John Travolta (Vinnie), Ron Palillo (Horshack), Robert Hegyes (Epstein) and Marcia Strassman (Julie) also starred. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 23: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Season Two - 9/23/76, Pictured, from left: Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Freddie), John Travolta (Barbarino), Ron Palillo (Horshack), Marcia Strassman (Julie), Robert Hegyes (Epstein). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 23: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Season Two - 9/23/76, Robert Hegyes (Epstein), Ron Palillo (Horshack), Stephen Shortridge (Beau De Labarre), Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Freddie), Marcia Strassman (Julie), John Sylvester White (Mr. Woodman). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 23: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Season Two - 9/23/76, Marcia Strassman (Julie). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - pilot - Season One - 9/9/75, Gabe Kotter (played by Gabe Kaplan, middle row, right), a former Sweathog, returned to his Brooklyn high school to teach the new class of delinquents, from top row, left: Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta, bottom row, left) and Freddie 'Boom-Boom' Washington (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs). John Sylvester White played Assistant Principal Woodman, and Marcia Strassman played Gabe's understanding wife, Julie. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - pilot - gallery - 9/9/75, Marcia Strassman (Julie Kotter). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - pilot - Season One - 9/9/75, Gabe Kotter (played by Gabe Kaplan, middle row, right), a former Sweathog, returned to his Brooklyn high school to teach the new class of misfits, top row, left: Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta, bottom left) and Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs). John Sylvester White played Assistant Principal Woodman, and Marcia Strassman played Gabe's understanding wife, Julie. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Pilot - 9/9/75, Gabe Kaplan played Gabe Kotter, the teacher of a class of delinquents called the Sweathogs at his former high school. Julie (Marcia Strassman) was his understanding wife. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Marcia Strassman Portrait - Pilot - 9/9/75, Marcia Strassman played Julie Kotter, the wife of a Brooklyn-born teacher who returned to his old high school to teach a class of delinquents called the Sweathogs. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Gallery' - Shoot date July 1, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Layout' - Shoot date June 30, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Layout' - Shoot date June 30, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Layout' - Shoot date June 30, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Layout' - Shoot date June 30, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Marcia Strassman - Pilot - 9/9/75, Marcia Strassman played Julie Kotter, the wife of a Brooklyn-born teacher who returned to his inner-city high school to teach a class of delinquents. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 23: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - Season Two - 9/23/76, Gabe Kaplan (Mr. Kotter), Marcia Strassman (Julie). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 17: Actress Marcia Strassman attends the LES GIRLS 11th annual cabaret at Avalon on October 17, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 21: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Barbarino's Boo-Boo' - Season Four - 10/21/78, Vinnie (John Travolta, right) lost Mr. Woodman in the hospital, and needed Epstein (Robert Hegyes, left), Freddie (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), Beau (Stephen Shortridge) and Horshack (Ron Palillo) to help him in his search. Marcia Strassman (Julie) also co-stars. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 06: FAMILY FEUD - 10/6/78, 'All Stars' coverage with casts of ABC's 'Soap', 'Eight is Enough', 'Welcome Back, Kotter' and 'Barney Miller'. Pictured: host Richard Dawson and 'Welcome Back, Kotter' cast: Ron Palillo, Marcia Strassman, Charles Fleischer, Stephen Shortridge and John Sylvester White. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 26: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'There's No Business' - Season Three - 1/26 and 2/2/78, Epstein (Robert Hegyes, left) told Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) and Julie (Marcia Strassman) to give up teaching and become a stand-up comedian. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 03: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Barbarino in Love' - 11/3/77 Amy Johnston, John Travolta, Gabriel Kaplan, Marcia Strassman. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: FANTASY ISLAND - 'The Funny Girl' - Season One - 3/18/78, Dr. Lloyd Hopper (Dennis Cole, 33) longed for a normal life. Marcia Strassman (as Kay Penny) also guest-starred. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 26: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'There's No Business' - Season Three - 1/26 and 2/2/78, Gabe (Gabe Kaplan, right) and Julie (Marcia Strassman) listened as Barbarino (John Travolta, left), Epstein (Robert Hegyes), Freddie (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs) and Horshack (Ron Palillo) convinced Gabe to pursue his dream as a stand-up comedian. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Three's Company, Four is a Crowd' - Season Three - 9/15/77, Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) and Julie (Marcia Strassman) anxiously awaited the birth of their child. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 22: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'And Baby Makes Four' - Season Three - 9/29/77, Julie (Marcia Strassman) and Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) welcomed twin daughters, Rachel and Robin, to the family. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 06: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Just Testing' - Season Three -, 10/6/77, Horshack (Ron Palillo, second from left), Vinnie (John Travolta), Freddie (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs) and Epstein (Robert Hegyes) discussed why Vinnie had to cram for a school test with Mr. Kotter (Gabe Kaplan) and Julie (Marcia Strassman). (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Buddy, Can You Spare a Million?' - Season Three - 9/29/77, Gabe (Gabe Kaplan, left), Julie (Marcia Strassman), Epstein (Robert Hegyes), Horshack (Ron Palillo) and Freddie (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs) watched as the winning numbers were read for the lottery. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: The cast and crew of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' (L-R) Gabe Kaplan, Ellen Travolta, Marcia Strassman, John Travolta Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Hegyes attend the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 20: Actress Marcia Strassman arrives to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame Committe's 20th Annual Induction Gala on January 20, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: Marcia Strassman (R) and Valarie Pettiford (L) perform at the 6th annual 'What a Pair' concert at the Orpheum Theatre on June 8, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Vicki Lewis, Jasmine Guy and Marcia Strassman (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)
Marcia Strassman, Vicki Lewis, Jasmine Guy and Lisa Ann Walter (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)
Marcia Strassman and Susan Sullivan during What a Pair 4! - Show at Wiltern/LG Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
Marcia Strassman (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
Marcia Strassman and Gabe Kaplan during AOL In2TV Launch - Inside at Museum of Television in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage for PMK/HBH)
Cindy Williams, Penny Marshall and Marcia Strassman (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Gail Matthius & Marcia Strassman during What A Pair! A Celebration of Women's Duets from Broadway Musicals to Benefit The Revlon/UCLA Breast Center at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: The cast and crew of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' (L-R) Ellen Travolta, Gabe Kaplan, Marcia Strassman, John Travolta, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Hegyes attend the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
PROVIDENCE -- 'Limbo' Episode 16 -- Pictured: (l-r) Marcia Strassman as Meredith, Mike Farrell as Dr. James Hansen. (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Marcia Strassman (L) and John Travolta attend the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: The cast and crew of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' (L-R) Marcia Strassman, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, John Travolta, Ellen Travolta and Gabe Kaplan accept the 35th Anniversary Award onstage at the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: The cast and crew of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' (L-R) Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Marcia Strassman, Robert Hegyes, John Travolta, Gabe Kaplan and Ellen Travolta accept the 35th Anniversary Award onstage Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'And Baby Makes Four' - Season Three - 9/29/77, Julie (Marcia Strassman) and Gabe (Gabe Kaplan) welcomed twin daughters, Rachel and Robin. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Gallery' - Shoot date March 3, 1977. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Gallery' - Shoot date March 3, 1977. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER - 'Marcia Strassman Gallery' - Shoot date March 3, 1977. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
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