Lisa Blount dies at 53; actress starred in 'An Officer and a Gentleman'

Lisa Blount, who played

Debra Winger

's best friend in the 1982 movie

and later shared an Academy Award as executive producer of the live-action short film

was found dead in her home in

Little Rock

, Ark., on Wednesday by her mother. She was 53.

Blount, the wife of actor and filmmaker Ray McKinnon, was found in bed holding a cellphone, which she had last used Monday when she told a friend she wasn't feeling well, according to Little Rock police.

The actress' mother, Louise Blount, told police that her daughter had been suffering for 17 years with a condition similar to

multiple sclerosis

and recently had complained of a pain in her back and neck. Louise Blount, who said she last spoke to her daughter Sunday, told police that McKinnon had been in Atlanta for the last month.

Police said there was no sign of foul play; an autopsy will be conducted.



-born actress made her film debut while still a teenager in writer-director James Bridges' 1978


"September 30, 1955," which was filmed on location in Arkansas.

Her role as Lynette Pomeroy, the insecure and calculating girlfriend of

David Keith

's naval-aviation cadet

in "An Officer and a Gentleman," earned her a

Golden Globe

nomination as the female New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture.

"I like doing rural women and bad people, but that character was a very specific kind, so it was hard to get people to see me in other roles," Blount told The Times in 1986.

Blount, who was voted favorite female newcomer in a 1983 US magazine readers poll, went on to play the young mother of

Jerry Lee Lewis

' 13-year-old wife and cousin in the 1989

film "Great Balls of Fire!," starring

Dennis Quaid


Other film credits include "


of Darkness" (1987), "Needful Things" (1993) and "Box of Moonlight" (1996). She also was a regular on the short-lived 1996 TV series "Profit."

Blount and the


-born McKinnon, who were married in 1998,

teamed with fellow Southerner

Walton Goggins

to form Ginny Mule Pictures in 1999.

Their goal, Blount said, was to make authentic Southern movies.

"We got sick and tired of seeing Northerners make movies about the South," Blount told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2002. "They had no idea of the nuances, the subtleties of Southerners."

In 2002, she shared

an Oscar

for "The Accountant" with her husband, who wrote, directed and played the title role in the short film, which is set on a large, financially troubled Southern farm.

Blount starred with Arkansas native

Billy Bob Thornton

in the drama

McKinnon's 2004 feature film directing debut for which Blount also was a producer. She also was one of the stars and a producer of McKinnon's 2007 comedy "Randy and the Mob."

Born July 1, 1957, in Fayetteville, Ark., Blount grew up near Pine Bluff and Jacksonville. She reportedly left high school at 16 and, although she had no diploma, managed to enroll in the

University of Arkansas


Blount, who moved to Little Rock with her husband in 2005,

most recently filmed "Outlaw Country," a series pilot for the


cable channel.

Besides her husband and mother, Blount is survived by her father, Glen; and her brother, Greg.