Breaking News: Broadway Legend Elaine Stritch Dies at 89
Stritch made her professional stage debut in 1944 and her Broadway debut in the comedy Loco in 1946. Notable Broadway credits include her Tony Award nominated roles in the original production of William Inge's 1955 play Bus Stop, Noël Coward's 1961 musical Sail Away, Stephen Sondheim's 1970 musical Company, which includes her performance of the song "The Ladies Who Lunch", the 1996 revival of the Edward Albee play A Delicate Balanceand her 2001 Tony Award winning one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty.
Her earliest television appearances were in The Growing Paynes (1949) and the Goodyear Television Playhouse (1953-55). She also appeared on episodes of The Ed Sullivan Show in 1954. She was the first and original Trixie Norton in the pilot for Honeymooners sketch with Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Pert Kelton. Early in her career, she appeared in Three Violent People (1956) starring Charlton Heston, as the hotel proprietor pal of Anne Baxter, and then co-starred opposite Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones in the David O. Selznick remake of A Farewell to Arms (1957) as Hudson's nurse. In The Perfect Furlough, she co-starred opposite Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. She had a showy role as the lesbian proprietor of a bar in the cult film Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) which starred Sal Mineo. She played the role of the "tough-as-nails" nurse in the remake of The Spiral Staircase (1975) and was praised for her performance in the comedy-drama Providence (1977).
Stritch became known as a singer with a brassy, powerful voice, most notably originating on Broadway the role of Joanne in Company (1970). After over a decade of successful runs in shows in New York, Stritch moved in 1972 to London, where she starred in the West End production of Company. She then starred in several West End productions, including Tennessee Williams' Small Craft Warnings in 1973 and the Neil Simon play The Gingerbread Lady in 1974. On television, she starred with Donald Sinden in the ITV sitcom Two's Company, which ran from 1975 to 1979 and earned Stritch a BAFTA Award nomination.
She joined the ensemble of Cocoon: The Return (1988) as the earthy waitress who helps widowed Jack Gilford get over his wife's death. Among her co-stars were former Goldilocks co-star Don Ameche and Gwen Verdon. She appeared in Out to Sea (1997) as Dyan Cannon's wise-cracking mother and "danced up a storm" with the other characters. She played Winona Ryder's loving grandmother in the film Autumn in New York (2000). She appeared in the comedy Monster in Law (2005) starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, playing Fonda's mother-in-law.
She appeared in a one-night only concert of Company in 1993 and as Parthy in a Broadway revival of the musical Show Boat in 1994. In 1996 she played Claire in a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. Her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, a summation of her life and career, premiered at New York's Public Theater, running from November 7 to December 30, 2001. It then ran on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre from February 21 to May 27, 2002.
She won an Emmy Award in 1993, for her guest role on Law & Order and another in 2004, for the television documentary of her one woman show. From 2007 to 2012, she had a recurring role as Jack Donaghy's mother Colleenon NBC's 30 Rock, a role that won her a third Emmy in 2008.
More recently she appeared in the Broadway revival of the Sondheim-Wheeler musical A Little Night Music, from July 2010 to January 2011, succeeding Angela Lansbury in the role of Madame Armfeldt, the wheelchair-bound mother who remembers her life as a courtesan in the song "Liaisons".
Her documentary, Elaine Stritch: SHOOT ME recently had its New York City premiere- in which, she is showcased both on and off stage via rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité. By turns bold, hilarious and moving, the film's journey connects Stritch's present to her past, and an inspiring portrait of a one-of-a-kind survivor emerges.
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