The actor, who made her first screen appearance as a child actor in Shanthi Nilayam, had recently been admitted to a private hospital for treatment, according to sources.
Manjula went on to play the lead role with MGR in his blockbuster Rickshawkaran in the early 1970s. She also starred in another popular MGR film Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban.
Many other lead roles came to her during the 1970s, not only in Tamil, but also Telugu and Kannada films. She has played alongside the top heroes of the Tamil industry across generations: MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, NTR, Gemini Ganesan, Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, and Vishnuvardhan.
In the subsequent decade, in the 1980s, she began appearing in supporting roles including mother and sister. In the 1990's the number of films came down, but she still essayed a few roles. Industry watchers say Manjula has over 100 films to her credit.
She is survived by her husband, actor Vijayakumar, daughters Preetha, Vanitha and Sridevi.