Tim Matheson mourns his ex-wife and screen sister Jennifer Leak after her death at 76

Matheson and Leak played step-siblings in the 1968 film "Yours, Mine and Ours."

Virgin River star Tim Matheson is mourning the death of his first wife, fellow actor Jennifer Leak, whom he met when they played step-siblings in the 1968 film Yours, Mine and Ours.

In a heartfelt message posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Matheson wrote, "It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of Jennifer Leak's passing. She wasn't just my screen sister in 'Yours, Mine and Ours,' but also my beloved first wife. Jennifer was a remarkable woman, strong, lovely, and incredibly talented. My deepest condolences go out to her husband of 47 years, James D'Auria and their multitude of friends."

Leak died March 18 at her home in Jupiter, Fla., according to an obituary published by the East Hampton Star. She was 76, and for the last several years had been dealing with progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurological disease.

Yours, Mine and Ours featured Matheson as Mike, the son of Henry Fonda's Frank Beardsley, while Leak portrayed Colleen, the daughter of Lucille Ball's Helen North. Their characters become step-siblings when Frank and Helen get married, uniting 18 children under a single roof. A remake of the film starring Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, Drake Bell, and Miranda Cosgrove was released in 2005.

Leak was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1947, and started her screen career with the Mike Nichols-directed pilot for Wojeck in the mid-1960s. She was cast in Nichols' sophomore feature, The Graduate, soon after but dropped out of the project due to immigration complications.

Outside of Yours, Mine and Ours, Leak's most prominent projects were soap operas. She played Gwen Sherman on The Young and the Restless, Olive Springer Gordon Randolph on Another World, and Blanche Bouvier on Guiding Light.

<p>Screen Archives/Getty</p> 'Yours, Mine and Ours'

Screen Archives/Getty

'Yours, Mine and Ours'

Aside from a brief appearance on Loving in 1992, Leak had retired from screen acting by the mid-1980s, working as a sales agent for a real estate company for many of her later years. She was married to Matheson (The West Wing, Animal House) from 1968 to 1971, and wed D'Auria in 1977. She is survived by her husband and brother.

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