Updated at 11.50 pm
CHENNAI: Film actor and Bharata Natyam dancer Padmini died of a heart attack at the Apollo Hospital here on Sunday night.
Born on June 12, 1932, she acted in over 250 movies.
Born and brought up in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Padmini was the second daughter of Thankappan Pillai and Sarawathi Amma.
Her sisters, Lalitha and Ragini, who died two years back, were also actors. They were all called the Travancore Sisters.
She acted with many heroes, including Sivaji Ganesan, MG Ramachandran, Raj Kapoor, Prem Nazir and Rajkumar.
She spoke Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada.
After marriage she stopped acting and settled for a family life in New Jersey, where in 1977 she started the Padmini School of Fine Arts.
It is considered as one of the oldest and largest Indian dancing school in the United States.
Her niece is Sobhana and her nephew is Vineeth.
Her last public appearance was at the function on Saturday night to felicitate Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Padmini made her debut in the Hindi film Kalpana. Her first Tamil film was Manamagal (1950) made by NS Krishnan.
Her husband passed away in 1981, after which she came back to India and started acting in Tamil films.
Her role as a dancer in Thillana Mohanambal, pairing with Sivaji Ganesan, won her critical acclaim.
Family sources said the funeral would take place after the arrival of her son Anand from the US.
Condoling the death of Padmini, the Tamil Nadu chief minister said, "I do not know how the death had a heart to swallow the beautiful and rare artiste. She was a star among the stars."
Padmini, nicknamed Natiyaperoli, a great light of dance, had totally involved herself in the characters she acted -- whether a dancer in Thillana Mohanambal and a middle class Brahmin woman in Vietnam Veedu.
A versatile artist and polyglot, Padmini had acted in about 250 films including Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada.
In Malayalam, her early hits included Snehaseema, Umminithanga, Adhyapika, Vivahitha and Kumara Sambhavam.
She teamed up with Raj Kapur in Bollywood to create big hits like Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bharthi Hei and Mera Naam Joker.
She was a disciple of choreographer Guru Gopinanth.