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SYFY WIRE obituary

Lynn Cohen, veteran character actor and Mags in The Hunger Games, dies at 86

By Josh Weiss
Lynn Cohen

Lynn Cohen, the actress known for playing Mags in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, has sadly passed away at the age of 86, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today. Cohen began acting on the stage in the late 1970s before hitting the screen in 1983's Without a Trace.

From that time on, Lynn (a native of Kansas City, Missouri) enjoyed a long and fruitful career spanning almost six decades. Throughout the years, she had the distinct pleasure of working with a multitude of talented filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg (2005's Munich), Julie Taylor (2007's Across the Universe), and Charlie Kaufman (2008's Synecdoche, New York).

From playing Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in Munich to Judge Elizabeth Mizener in Law & Order to Magda in Sex and the City, Cohen was a dependable character actor of the highest quality. She even did voiceover performances for projects like Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption (2010). Another of her genre appearances was in 2015's The Cobbler, a comedic fantasy movie starring Adam Sandler and Dustin Hoffman.

Lynn Cohen

In 2013's Catching Fire (directed by Francis Lawrence), Cohen entered the 75th Hunger Games as Mags, an elderly tribute from District 4, who was a close friend and mentor of Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin). She ended up giving her life during the Quarter Quell, so that Finnick could help carry Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) to safety alongside Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).

“Whether it’s The Hunger Games where I’m doing mountains and commit suicide to protect everybody, or whether it’s Sex and the City where I have a very strong idea of what life should be, what morals are, or Munich, where I play Golda Meir, or a Woody Allen movie — it has to do with the strength of women, the strength of the human being," Cohen told Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent in 2016, revealing what attracted her to certain roles.

A number of the actress's final performances have yet to be released. One of them is as Mrs. Litvak in The Vigil, a Judaism-inspired horror film from writer/director Keith Thomas. Thomas was recently tapped to helm a cinematic remake of Stephen King's Firestarter.

Cohen is survived by her husband of 56 years, Ronald Theodore Cohen.