The actress Sally Kellerman has passed away at the age of 84 after suffering heart failure at her home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles on Thursday (February 24).

Kellerman enjoyed a career spanning more than 60 years in film and television, with a notable role being Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in director Robert Altman’s 1970 film MASH.

There she played a straitlaced, by-the-book army nurse who is tormented by rowdy doctors during the Korean War, a performance which saw her nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

She was a regular in Altman’s films, appearing in 1970’s Brewster McCloud, 1992’s The Player and 1994’s Ready to Wear.

Kellerman was born in 1937 in Long Beach, California, the daughter of a piano teacher and an oil executive, moving to Los Angeles as a child and attending Hollywood High School.

After that she took an acting class at Los Angeles City College and appeared in a stage production of “Look Back in Anger” with classmate Jack Nicholson and several other future stars.

She worked mostly in television early in her career, with a lead role in 1962’s Cheyenne and guest appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Bonanza.

Her appearance in the original Star Trek pilot as Dr Elizabeth Dehner won her cult status among fans.

Tributes paid to Sally Kellerman

Actor Marc Maron was one of those to pay tribute to Kellerman, writing in a post in his Twitter account: "Sally Kellerman was radiant and beautiful and fun and so great to work with. She played my mom on my series ‘Maron.’ My real mom was very flattered and a bit jealous. I’m sad she’s gone. RIP."

Writer Jay Stobie posted: "We've lost one of the very first members of our #StarTrek family. My thoughts go out to Sally Kellerman's friends and loved ones."

The actor Treat Williams, who had worked with Kellerman previously, posted on his Twitter account: "Oh Sally Kellerman. We played husband and wife in Dempsey. I loved you in Mash. You were sweet and funny and vulnerable. And a lovely singer. A life well lived. You will be missed. RIP."