Shirley Knight

Heartbroken friends and colleagues pay tribute to late Desperate Housewives actress Shirley Knight

Shirley's daughter Kaitlin confirmed the sad news on Facebook 

Emmy Griffiths

Desperate Housewives star and two-time Oscar nominee Shirley Knight has sadly passed away aged 83. The actress, who was best known for her roles in The Dark at the Top of the Stars and Sweet Bird of Youth reportedly died of natural causes on Wednesday, aged 83. She is survived by her two daughters, Kaitlin and Sophie. 

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Shirley played Phyllis in Desperate Housewives

Posting a tribute on Facebook, Kaitlin wrote: "Early this morning April 22nd you passed away, and your sweet soul left us for a better place. I was at your side and you went peacefully. To me, you were 'just mom', to some you were 'Miss Knight', 'Miss Shirley', 'Mama Shirley' (to my students), 'Shirl the Girl' (to your friends), and 'Shirley Knight' to your fans." Viola Davis was among those to post about Shirley on Twitter, writing: "RIP to the talented, prolific, Shirley Knight. Rest well." 

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The actress was a two-time Oscar nominee

Actor Allen Covert added: "Shirley Knight passed away today. She was an amazing actress and a wonderful person. Her career was long and she could do anything. I am proud to have known her and to have had the honour of working with her. My love and prayers are with her and her family." Michael McKeen also tweeted: "I worked with Shirley Knight 20 years ago. She was lovely and smart and didn't mind me going on and on about her work in Petulia. A beautiful person with a lot of talent. RIP." 

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Shirley was also well known for her role in Desperate Housewives, where she played Phyllis Van De Kamp, Rex's mother who becomes convinced that Bree poisoned him for insurance money. She returns later in the series offering to help her granddaughter Danielle bring up her unplanned baby, much to Bree's annoyance.

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