Actress Peggy Lipton has reportedly passed away at the age of 72. The Mod Squad actress died on Saturday, May 11 after enduring complications from colon cancer, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The former model rose to stardom in the late 1960s on the groundbreaking television show The Mod Squad and later Lipton starred on Twin Peaks.
Lipton’s death was announced on Saturday by her daughters, Kidada and Rashida Jones from her former marriage to iconic music producer Quincy Jones.
“She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side,” Lipton’s daughters said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.”
Lipton was born in New York on Aug. 30, 1946, and began modeling at 15-years-old. By the time Lipton was age 19, she found herself making her television debut on the sitcom The John Forsythe Show.
Lipton later made appearances on other series such as Bewitched, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Virginian. She catapulted to fame at 21-years-old in 1968 when she portrayed Julie Barnes, a street-smart hippie on ABC’s crime show The Mod Squad.
The popular show broke barriers due to it being one of the first TV shows to feature an interracial cast. Lipton starred in it alongside Michael Cole and Clarence Williams III.
The show that tackled tough issues like domestic violence, abortion, police brutality, the Vietnam War and drugs, garnered Lipton four Emmy nominations and a 1971 Golden Globe award for best actress in a TV drama.
Lipton’s portrayal of Barnes and her marriage to Jones, a black man, centered Lipton at the nation’s intricate wrestle with racism and a post-World War II generation who were seeking change.
The Mod Squad turned Lipton into a fashion icon, although she was uncomfortable being in the spotlight.
“I never saw myself as trend-setting,” Lipton told The Times in 1993. “We were always working. Fame really drove me into my house. I was very paranoid. I didn’t like going out. I had no idea how to be comfortable with the press. I was very young. It was really hard for me.”
Lipton later forged a singing career that resulted in her covers of “Stoney End” and “Lu” by Laura Nyro being successful on the charts. Lipton married Jones in 1974 and took time off from acting to focus on her family. She reemerged in 1979 for the Mod Squad‘s reunion TV movie.
Lipton and Jones’ daughters, Kidada and Rashida followed in her footsteps, both becoming actresses. Rashida garnered fame on comedy series like The Office and Parks and Recreation.
“It was very scary,” Lipton told The Times in 1993. “I had a push-pull thing inside me that I wanted to do it…. I had become so insulated in my world as a mother, that I didn’t know how to pick up the phone and call anybody to put myself out there.”
Following Lipton and Jones’ divorce in 1989, Lipton returned to acting and landed a role on Twin Peaks, a cult TV series where Lipton portrayed the role of Norma Jennings.
Lipton and Clarence Williams III made cameos in the 1999 silver-screen version of The Mod Squad, starring Claire Danes, Omar Epps, and Giovani Ribisi. Lipton penned her memoir, Breathing Out in 2005. In it, she chronicled her bouts with racism that she and Jones faced during their interracial marriage and she also revealed that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer.
Recently, Lipton continued to make occasional appearances in supporting roles in movies like When in Rome and A Dog’s Purpose. She also had roles in TV series including Alias, Crash and 2017’s Twin Peaks revival.
“We can’t put all of our feelings into words right now, but we will say: Peggy was and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond,” her daughters said in a statement Saturday. “She will always be a part of us.”
Take a look at Peggy Lipton through the years below.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter.