Olympia Dukakis, who was thrown a parade by the town of Montclair after winning the Oscar for her supporting role in “Moonstruck” in 1987, only to have the statue stolen from a table in her kitchen days later, came back to Montclair Thursday night for a screening of her new film, “Cloudburst,” in which she plays a foul-mouthed elderly lesbian. It was the first time she had seen the movie with an audience, and the sold-out Montclair Film Festival audience included her son Peter Zorich, running for councilor-at-large in Tuesday’s election.
The elegant Dukakis told the audience afterwards that the Robert Mapplethorpe controversy, which put government arts funding on the defensive, was the beginning of the end of the Whole Theatre Company, which she and husband Louis Zorich founded in 1973 and ran for 15 years. “It was like a house of cards,” she said. “Everybody got less money. Corporations and foundations bailed.”
After a year or so of struggle, she simply was worn out with trying to cut expenses and raise money: “I remember I said, ‘Close the doors.’ You’ve got to get somebody who’s hungry. I’m not hungry like that.”