March 29 (UPI) — Leonardo DiCaprio says late actress Darlene Cates was “the best acting mom” he’s ever had.
The 42-year-old actor paid tribute to his “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” co-star in a Facebook post Tuesday after Cates died Sunday at age 69.
“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” DiCaprio 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,” he said.
Cates’ daughter, Sheri Ann Cates, had announced in a Facebook post Monday that the actress died “peacefully in her sleep” March 26.
“It is with a bitter-sweet heart that we share that our precious wife, mother, and Gaga, Darlene Guthrie Cates, was called Home, somewhat unexpectedly, peacefully in her sleep Sunday morning,” she wrote.
Cates played Bonnie, the housebound mom of DiCaprio and Johnny Depp‘s characters, in the 1993 movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” DiCaprio was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Arnie in the film.
“All these girls say, ‘Oh, you had Leo hanging on you!'” Cates said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2014.
“For me, he was just this dirty little boy that kept hanging onto me, trying to stay in character. I mean, they had that kid dirtied up good,” she joked. “Trust me girls, it was no big deal.”
DiCaprio will star in “The Ballad of Richard Jewell” with Jonah Hill, and is also slated for an adaptation of the Stephan Talty book “The Black Hand.”