Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Breaking News: Broadway Legend Elaine Stritch Dies at 89

BroadwayWorld.com has confirmed that Broadway legend Elaine Stritch died this morning, at home in Birmingham, MI. The star was 89 years old.

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.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

TodayTix Black Friday

Related Stories
Video: Hugh Jackman Returns to THE MUSIC MAN Today Photo
Watch a video of Hugh Jackman, as he returns to The Music Man at the Winter Garden Theatre!

Ben Platt and Noah Galvin Announce Engagement Photo
Ben Platt and Noah Galvin have announced their engagement! Platt and Galvin became a couple after Platt stepped down as 'Evan Hansen' in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway and Galvin took over the role. The pair shared the news of their engagement on Instagram.

VIDEO: First Look at Dolly Partons New Holiday Musical Movie Photo
NBC has released a first look video trailer for Dolly Parton's new movie musical, Dolly's Magic Mountain Christmas. The new film features Ana Gasteyer, Bryan Batt, Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon, and more starring alongside Parton.

VIDEO: Watch the MATILDA THE MUSICAL Movie Spell It Out Teaser Photo
Watch a new promo for the new film adaptation of Matilda the Musical. The video features a new look at Alisha Weir (Matilda), Emma Thompson (Miss Trunchbull), Lashana Lynch (Miss Honey), Sindhu Vee (Miss Phelps), Charlie Hodson-Prior (Bruce Bogtrotter), and more in the new film.


More Hot Stories For You


Now Hiring: Costume Shop Assistant, Production Manager, and More - BroadwayWorld ClassifiedsNow Hiring: Costume Shop Assistant, Production Manager, and More - BroadwayWorld Classifieds
November 25, 2022

This Week's New Classified Listings on BroadwayWorld for 11/24/2022 include new jobs for those looking to work in the theatre industry.

Damon Daunno, Amber Gray, Grace McLean and Margo Seibert Join LOVE THE STRUGGLE Joe's Pub ConcertDamon Daunno, Amber Gray, Grace McLean and Margo Seibert Join LOVE THE STRUGGLE Joe's Pub Concert
November 23, 2022

Rehearsals began last week for a concert on Monday, December 5 at Joe's Pub being presented in collaboration with Maestra Music featuring song highlights from Love The Struggle, a new musical co-written by Stacy Krayand Yair Evnine about the French existential philosophers and social activists Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Photos: First Look at Matt Doyle as 'Seymour' in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORSPhotos: First Look at Matt Doyle as 'Seymour' in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
November 23, 2022

See production photos of Tony Award winner Matt Doyle as Seymour in the three-time Best Revival Award-winning LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, now in its third year of performances at the Westside Theatre.

Video: Harry Styles Sings 'Memory' From CATS and Andrew Lloyd Webber RespondsVideo: Harry Styles Sings 'Memory' From CATS and Andrew Lloyd Webber Responds
November 23, 2022

At a recent Harry Styles concert, the popstar took a brief interlude between songs to sing a bit of 'Memory', from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. Webber himself saw the video and responded on Twitter.

Wake Up With BWW 11/23: DRAG RACE's Jinkx Monsoon to Join CHICAGO, and More!Wake Up With BWW 11/23: DRAG RACE's Jinkx Monsoon to Join CHICAGO, and More!
November 23, 2022

Top stories include Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon playing Matron 'Mama' Morton in Chicago on Broadway next year! Plus, we took you inside rehearsal for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and more!