Tanya Roberts, who starred alongside Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film “A View To A Kill,” as well as classic TV series “Charlie’s Angels” and “That ’70s Show,” has died. She was 65.
Her publicist and longtime friend Mike Pingel told USA TODAY that Roberts died Sunday at Los Angeles’ Cedar-Sinai Hospital. The actress was hospitalized Dec. 24 and placed on a ventilator following a collapse that occurred after walking her dogs. “It came out of nowhere, it was all very sudden,” said Pingel.
He did not disclose the cause of death, but said Roberts did not die from a COVID-19 related illness.
Pingel said that Roberts was extremely cautious during COVID-19, venturing out three times in 2020, twice to take her beloved dogs to the veterinarian.
The straight-talking actress interacted with fans in a weekly online program streamed from her official Facebook page, on which she last participated Dec. 19. But the first show of 2021, scheduled for Jan. 2, was canceled without public explanation. On Sunday, Pingel announced to fans, “Yes, Tanya passed away today. I’m heartbroken.”
Born Victoria Leigh Blum in the Bronx, Roberts dropped out of high school at 15 and hitchhiked around the country. She eventually returned to New York City and began a career in modeling, stepping into movies with the 1976 horror film “Forced Entry” (later retitled to “The Last Victim”).
She starred as Kiri in 1982’s sword-and-sorcery fantasy adventure, “The Beastmaster.” In the 1984 fantasy “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle” Roberts starred as the titular character, a female version of Tarzan. Shot in Kenya, “Sheena” bombed at the box office and with critics, earning five Golden Raspberry Awards, including worst actress for Roberts. The film would become a campy cult classic.
“The director screwed up everything,” Roberts recalled bluntly in her final fan chat.
Roberts had a year-long run as tough-talking Julie Rogers, who helped the Townsend Agency detectives solve crimes in “Charlies Angels,” following the departure of Shelley Hack.
In “A View to a Kill” she played geologist Stacey Sutton, a target of villain Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken.
Roberts starred on “That ’70s Show” as Midge Pinciotti, the lovable, beautiful mother of cynical teenager Donna Pinciotti (played by Laura Prepon). She left the series in 2001 to care for her terminally ill husband, Barry Roberts, who died in 2006. The show’s writers dealt with Roberts’ absence citing Midge’s move to California. Roberts was absent from the sitcom for seasons four and five and made a return in season six.
“‘That ’70s Show’ was her favorite show, she really loved doing comedy,” said Pingel.