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Leonardo DiCaprio Remembers What’s Eating Gilbert Grape Co-Star Darlene Cates as the ”Best Acting Mom”

Leonardo DiCaprio is paying tribute to one of his most formative co-stars. 

Darlene Cates, who played DiCaprio and Johnny Depp‘s mother in 1993 drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, recently died at the age of 69. Her family shared the news on Facebook, writing that Cates passed away “peacefully in her sleep” last Sunday, March 26. 

DiCpario took to the social media platform on Tuesday with a heartfelt message for the late actress.

“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” he wrote. “Her endearing personality and incredible talent will live on in the memories of those who knew her, and those who loved her work. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

Leonardo earned his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination in 1994 for his supporting performance as Depp’s mentally impaired younger brother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Cates’ acting career continued with small parts in Touched By an AngelPicket Fences and TV movie, Wolf Girl

In the post announcing Darlene’s passing, her sister continued, “We take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father, breaking away only to dance with our Savior, Jesus. (Dancing was something she talked about loving to do ‘back in the day’!)”

Our thoughts are with Darlene’s family at this time. 

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