Carol Locatell, who had a memorable turn as the foulmouthed mother Ethel Hubbard in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and worked alongside Burt Reynolds in three films, has died. She was 82.
Locatell died April 11 at her home in Sherman Oaks after a long battle with cancer, her husband, songwriter and record producer Gregory Prestopino, told The Hollywood Reporter. They were together for 50 years.
Locatell moved from Los Angeles to New York in the mid-1980s to shake up her career, and from her first audition there she landed a part on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, which premiered in 1986. She then appeared in The Shadow Box in 1994 and in The Rose Tattoo a year later.
She first met Reynolds when she auditioned for him for a role in Simon’s Chapter Two at his dinner theater in Jupiter, Florida. She worked with him in Paternity (1981); Sharky’s Machine (1981), which he directed (she played a hooker in that); and Norman Jewison’s Best Friends (1982).
In Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985), Locatell gained a legion of fans for her trashy turn as the short-tempered, stew-making Ethel, who lives with her son, Junior (Ron Sloan), on a farm next door to the Pinehurst Youth Development Center.
“The first time I got made up, I took one look at me and I thought, ‘OK, I know what I have to do,’” she recalled in an interview last year. “So I go outside and I find a pile of dirt and I put dirt on me, dirty [up my] hands, and I thought, ‘This is perfect.”
At horror-film conventions, Locatell’s interactions with the faithful “truly warmed my heart,” Sloan wrote on Facebook.
She asked “every single fan the question, ‘Do you want me to flip you off, or what line would you like as an autographed on your picture?” he noted. “She would offer lines like, ‘You big dildo, eat your fucking slop’ [or] ‘Who the fuck are you and what the fuck do you want?’ … Her sailor mouth will truly be missed at the next convention.”
An only child, Locatell was born in Atlanta on Dec. 13, 1940. She was raised in San Mateo, California, and sent by her mom to a Catholic boarding school when she was 4. She attended San Francisco State University but left when she was hired to play one of the Pigeon sisters in the first road company of Simon’s The Odd Couple.
In the early ’60s, CBS brought her Los Angeles as the network was looking to revive a version of the studio system, her husband said.
Locatell made her onscreen debut on an episode of The Flying Nun in 1967, and she would show up on It Takes a Thief, Medical Center, The Smith Family, Bonanza, Mannix, M*A*S*H, Police Woman, Dynasty, Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men, Scandal, Station 19 and Shameless.
Her big-screen résumé also included Coffy (1973), Sammy (1977), The Daytrippers (1996), Bug (2002) and The Family Stone (2005).
She originated the role of Fonsia Dorsey in D.L. Coburn’s The Gin Game at American Theatre Arts in Los Angeles in 1976.
Locatell kept acting after surviving tongue cancer eight years ago, Prestopino said, and preferred working in the theater above all else. “She would project her voice, and you could hear every word, but she was not stentorious,” he said. “She had a wonderful instrument that could fill the room.”
1:30 p.m. A previous version of this obituary had an mislabeled photo from Everett Collection that was not Locatell.