We are sad to hear that the talented actress Camille Saviola has left us. Known for her roles in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the Bajoran religious leader Kai Opaka, and as the endearing mother of Turtle in Entourage, she also lit up Broadway with her performances in Nine and Chicago. Camille passed away yesterday at the age of 71 due to heart failure after a brief illness. It’s a loss felt deeply by her friends and fans alike.
According to the Star Trek website WarpFactorTrek.com and various social media posts, the news of Camille Saviola’s passing spread. Alyssa Romeo, Camille’s great niece, confirmed that she succumbed to heart failure.
Among those paying tribute was her longtime friend, the renowned actor Harvey Fierstein, who tweeted: “She was a friend for 40 years who could always be counted on for a laugh, a shoulder, or a kick in the ass. The Italian Godmother of Soul! Farewell.”
Actor Wilson Cruz, who shared the stage with Camille in numerous AIDS benefits, tweeted: “What a presence this woman was! My heart is heavy. My love to Camille’s family and family of friends throughout the industry. She will be missed.”
Remembering their cherished moments together, Mary Jo Mecca, a friend and actress, wrote on Facebook, “We lost Camille Saviola today – A DIVA of the greatest kind. I met her when we played Mother & Daughter in The Rink for The Musical Theatre Guild. We spent everyday on a park Bench sharing stories of our Italian upbringing and building a relationship that we transferred to the stage. She called me ‘Jersey’ and I called her ‘Walk-Up’… She was a tough cookie with a huge heart, a wicked sense of humor, and a voice that would shake the rafters… She fought the good fight in silence.”
Camille Saviola’s career was rich and diverse. Starting as a singer in the 1970s New York rock band the Margo Lewis Explosion, she later made her Broadway debut as Mama Maddelena in Nine in 1982. Her charm and talent landed her roles in Woody Allen’s films, such as Broadway Danny Rose and The Purple Rose of Cairo, and she appeared in various TV shows like Remington Steele, Baby Boom, and Without a Trace.
Of course, her portrayal of the wise and spiritual Kai Opaka in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine endeared her to sci-fi fans everywhere. And who could forget her role as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago, where she brought her undeniable charisma to the stage?
Camille Saviola was a remarkable actress with a wicked sense of humor, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew her and the fans who admired her work. Her legacy will live on through the laughter and joy she brought to countless people.
As we say goodbye to this extraordinary talent, let’s remember her with fondness and celebrate the laughter she shared with us all. Rest in peace, Camille Saviola.