"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" actress Louisa Moritz has died in the midst of a defamation suit against Bill Cosby. Moritz accused the comedian of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room in 1971. She was seeking to clear her name after Cosby called her a liar at the time of her death.
Louisa Moritz, one of the dozens of women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault has passed away with an ongoing defamation case against the incarcerated actor. The 72-year-old actress turned lawyer reportedly died of heart failure.
Moritz, who’s best known for her role as Rose the hooker in the Oscar-winning 1975 film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” died on January 4 at a Los Angeles hospice according to her publicist. She was said to have been ill for a year and even injured herself when she fell during a trip to Washington to meet her lawyer for her case against Cosby.
The Cuban-born actress filed a defamation case against the comedian in 2014. She and six other women she filed the case with claimed the actor tainted their reputation by calling them liars when he denied their sexual assault accusations against him.
Moritz was one of 35 women who appeared in New York magazine’s cover accusing Cosby of sexually abusing them. She came forward with her story in 2014 and revealed an incident in 1971 when Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him at a dressing room of Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show.” Cosby and his lawyers denied her claim and branded her a liar.
Moritz’s defamation suit will reportedly continue despite her death. It aims to restore her reputation so her legacy is untainted.
The actress who often played a ditzy blonde arrived in the US from Cuba in the 1950s. In an effort to distance herself from her distant relative, Fidel Castro, she dropped her original last name, Castro and changed it to Moritz, inspired by the St. Moritz Hotel in New York.
Through the years, she made a name for herself as television and film actress. Her appearances included a lead role in 1970’s "The Man from O.R.G.Y." and a role opposite Sylvester Stallone in ““Death Race 2000,” among others. Her television credits include “Happy Days,” “M*A*S*H.,” and "Love, America Style.”
Aside from acting, Moritz earned a law degree and worked as an attorney in southern California. However, her career as a lawyer came to a halt after she was disbarred for failing to file quarterly reports on time.
Despite the setback, she had a keen eye on business and managed to buy herself a hotel in Beverly Hills now known as the Beverly Hills St. Moritz.
As Moritz’s memory lives on in her hotel and her works as an actress, she will also be remembered as a “brave woman who stood up against a powerful Hollywood icon,” according to her lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. He added that up until before her death, she was determined to see her defamation suit through and was even happy to learn that it was moving forward.