Jack Nicholson’s Former ‘Five Easy Pieces’ Co-Star Karen Black Crowd Funds Cancer Treatment

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Karen Black, right, and Jack Nicholson in 'Five Easy Pieces'
Karen Black, right, and Jack Nicholson in 'Five Easy Pieces'

She played the dolled up hillbilly flirt to Jack Nicholson's high society dropout in 1970's "Five Easy Pieces" -- and both actors earned Oscar nominations.

Karen Black, who has appeared in nearly 200 film and television roles -- most notably in late '60s and '70s-era features including "Easy Rider" (1969, also starring Nicholson), "Five Easy Pieces," "The Great Gatsby" (1974), "Nashville" (1975), and the 1976 Alfred Hitchcock film "Family Plot" -- has taken to a crowd-funding site to pay for her cancer treatment.

As of 2 p.m. PT, the 73-year-old actress had raised $13,500 in 10 days on GoFundMe.com, coming close to her $17,000 goal. (Oddly, as of 2:50 p.m. PT, we noticed the goal has been upped to $22,000.)

6:15 p.m. PT update: Black has now surpassed her goal by raising more than $23,000.

Karen Black
Karen Black

Black was diagnosed with ampullary cancer (in the intestine) in late 2010. She underwent surgery to remove a third of her pancreas as well as chemotherapy and radiation, and was declared cancer free less than a year later. But by June 2012, the cancer returned.

And now the 5' 7" actress weighs just 96 pounds, according to her husband, Stephen Eckelberry. He argued on Black's campaign donation page that this creates a major obstacle for her to undergo another round of lifesaving chemotherapy. Eckelberry further explained that Black needs a clinical therapy offered in Europe -- one her insurance doesn't cover and one that the actress, who Eckelberry says is living on "a modest pension," cannot afford. Hence the crowd-funding campaign. "We have nothing left," Eckelberry wrote of their ordeal.

6:45 p.m. PT update: Eckelberry has shared a thank you message on Black's GoFundMe page, saying, "Karen and [I] are touched beyond belief. It's so great to know she can make this trip. I promise to keep everybody updated. Any additional money that is raised beyond our goal will go towards my going with her. THIS IS AMAZING THANK YOU SO MUCH."

Beyond acting, Black is also a screenwriter, singer, and songwriter, and has won two Golden Globe Awards. She has one son from a previous marriage and one adopted daughter. Black made her big screen breakthrough in Francis Ford Coppola's 1966 film "You're a Big Boy Now." She more recently appeared in the 2003 horror film "House of 1000 Corpses."

Yahoo! Movies reached out to Jack Nicholson's reps to see if the actor had any messages of support for Black, but did not hear back in time for the publication of this article.

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