Veteran actress Sondra James, best known of late among mainstream cinema fans after appearing in 2019's blockbuster Joker, passed away after a five-month battle with lung cancer on September 12 in New York City. She was 82. The late actress, who has made appearances in film, television and on stage over a period of four decades, has starred in films alongside names like Robert De Niro, Christopher Lloyd, Ben Affleck, Mike Birbiglia, including Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy Award-winning role in Joker.
Sondra James made her debut in films in legendary filmmaker Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite in 1995, after which she made appearances, including doing voice roles in movies like Alfie, The Climb, Taking Woodstock, The Dictator, Don’t Think Twice, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Robots, and as Dr. Sally in Todd Phillips’ Joker. Her last starring role is the upcoming George Clooney-directed The Tender Bar, starring Ben Affleck, which is scheduled for a release next year. She also appeared on television shows like Law & Order, Blue Bloods, Woody Allen’s Amazon series Crisis in Six Scenes, What We Do in the Shadows and Sky TV’s Sick of It, in which she played Auntie Norma alongside Karl Pilkington. James’ onstage roles include touring for Funny Girl with Debbie Gibson in the mid-1990s, followed by The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife starring Valerie Harper.
Prior to her stint as an actor, Sondra James ran a post-production loop group called Speakeasy in New York, which was involved in casting, coordinating and performing voice work for television and films. The company’s work credits include an association with series like Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death, Damages and Smash, and movies like The Devil Wears Prada, The Reader, The Sixth Sense and True Grit to name a notable few. James is survived by her sons Michael Shenkman and Marc Shenkman; her grandchildren Jake, Jordana, Jenna and Zach; great grandchildren Lynden and Harlow; brother Elliot Webb; and sister Carol Raskin.
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