Actress Fran Bennett, known for her roles on Nightangales, Roots: The Gift, Star Trek: Next Generation, and more, died on September 12, 2021 at the age of 84.
Bennett was a native of Arkansas and served as a longtime acting and voice professor at CalArts for over 36 years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The school confirmed Bennett's passing over the weekend, noting her years of dedication to students and leadership at the school for decades.
"Fran's voice was unmistakable. She never shied away from using it. And she taught so many throughout the years to find and free their won," Dean Travis Preston of the CalArts School of Theater said in a statement.
"Before there were diversity committees and personnel at CalArts, there was Fran. She unceasingly championed students, artists and innovators of all background and demanded that leaders do more to serve the left out and kept out," Preston added.
Bennett held bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and made her onscreen debut on the CBS soap opera, Guiding Light in 1965. She went on to appear in Roots, In The Heat of the Night, Community and as Olivia Pope's neighbor, Louis on Scandal.
Bennett also graced the stage with her talents, and was a founding member of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company. For her talent, Bennett earned an Ovation Award and a NAACP Theatre Award.