Elizabeth Hoffman, Sisters Matriarch, Dead at 97

Elizabeth Hoffman, the actress who portrayed Beatrice “Bea” Reed Ventnor in NBC’s ’90s family drama Sisters, died of natural causes at her home in Malibu, Calif. on Aug. 21. She was 97 years old.

The news was confirmed by Hoffman’s son Chris to The Hollywood Reporter.

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On Sisters, the actress played mom to four daughters played by Swoosie Kurtz, Sela Ward, Patricia Kalember and Julianne Phillips. The show ran for six seasons between 1991-1996, with Hoffman appearing in a total of 87 episodes.

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Throughout the course of the NBC series, Bea’s four children reunited to care for her after she turned to alcohol to deal with her husband’s death and decided to sell the family home. Later, the character would lose another husband, and a fifth daughter eventually emerged.

Hoffman also portrayed Eleanor Roosevelt in two separate miniseries, The Winds of War (1983) and War and Remembrance (1988-89), the latter of which starred Robert Mitchum and Jane Seymour.

Her other TV credits include recurring roles on Little House on the Prairie and Matlock, in addition to The A-Team, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Thirtysomething, Stargate SG-1 and L.A. Law.

On the film side of things, she played Meryl Streep’s mom in The River Wild and the elderly Ruth in Dante’s Peak, and also had roles in Fear No Evil, Nuts and Born on the Fourth of July.

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