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Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70

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Suzanne Pleshette, best known for her role on "The Bob Newhart Show," passed away on Friday, January 19 due to complications from Lung Cancer, she was 70.  

Pleshette was born in New York City of Jewish heritage. Her mother, Geraldine, was a dancer and artist who performed under the stage name Geraldine Rivers. Her father, Eugene Pleshette, was a stage manager, network executive and manager of the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, New York. Pleshette was a cousin of Knots Landing actor John Pleshette. She graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts and then attended Syracuse University.

Pleshette appeared in over two dozen made-for-television movies and numerous feature film of the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and was nominated for an Emmy Award on several occasions. A former stage actress, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway version of The Miracle Worker (opposite Patty Duke), to rave reviews. 

Her most memorable film role was that of schoolteacher Annie Hayworth opposite Rod Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film The Birds. She appeared on the final episode of Newhart, in which viewers discovered the entire series had been a dream of Bob Hartley. He wakes up in an identical bedroom from the set of "The Bob Newhart Show" next to Pleshette. Her most recent appearances included guest spots on "Will & Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter"

The widow of comic actor Tom Poston, Pleshette died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, RoBert Finkelstein, an entertainment lawyer and family friend, told the Associated Press. Pleshette underwent chemotherapy in 2006 for lung cancer and was expected to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, respiratory complications forced Pleshette to undergo surgery from which she was currently recovering.

Suzanne Pleshette (photo by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd)


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