Stage, Screen Legend Julie Harris Dies at 87

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Stage, Screen Legend Julie Harris Dies at 87

Legendary screen and stage actress Julie Harris has died at age 87.

According to The New York Times, Harris, a five-time Tony winner, passed away on Saturday at her home in West Chatham, Massachusetts due to congestive heart failure.

Harris was born in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan on December 2nd, 1925. She moved to New York and became the youngest student ever accepted to Yale School of Drama. Before she had finished out the year at Yale, she was cast in her Broadway debut, It's a Gift (1945). She made several other Broadway appearances in the 1940s while studying at The Actor's Studio.

However, her much-lauded breakout performance was in 1951 as the eleven-year old tomboy Frankie Addams in Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding, directed by Harold Clurman and was cast in the film version the following year, for which she earned an Oscar nomination. Had she won, Harris would have been an EGOT winner.

Harris earned her first of ten Tony nominations as Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera, a role she would also reprise on film. She won another Tony in 1955 as Joan of Arc in The Lark.

She began an equally admirable career in television with her appearance in "The United States Steel Hour" in 1956 which earned her the first of eleven Emmy nominations. She won the Emmy for her performance as Bridgid Mary in Hallmark Hall of Fame's Little Moon of Alban, a role she would reprise on Broadway. In 1958, she starred alongside James Dean in Elia Kazan's East of Eden. She has more Tony wins and nominations than any other performer (10 nominations and five wins.) She has appeared in over thirty Broadway productions.

Proving herself a fighter, Harris previously survived a bought with breast cancer in 1981, a serious head injury requiring surgery in 1999 and a stroke in 2001.

Photo by Walter McBride

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