Today's Birthdays 9/26 - George Gershwin, Patrick O'Neal, Phillip Bosco, Mary Beth Hurt

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Edmund Gwenn 09/26/1875 - Sep 6, 1959 performer - SHEPPY (Frances Heflin [Van's sis]); YOU TOUCHED ME (Monty Cliff)

T.S. Eliot 09/26/1888 - Jan 4, 1965 Lyricist, Source Material, Writer - MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL (Music by A. Lehman Engel); orig. THE COCKTAIL PARTY (Irene Worth); THE CONFIDENTIAL CLERK (Ina Claire, Joan Greenwood, Claude Raines); 1968 THE COCKTIAL PARTY (Brian Bedford, Nancy Walker, Frances Sternhagen); CATS

Jay Adler 09/26/1896 - Sep 23, 1978 Brother of Charles Adler, Julia Adler, Luther Adler, Stella Adler, Florence Adler, Frances Adler, Half-brother of Celia Adler, Abram Adler, Son of Jacob P. & Sara Adler performer - CAFE CROWN (Sam Wanamaker, Mitzi Hajos, Sam Jaffe)

George Gershwin 09/26/1898 - Jul 11, 1937 Ira's brother. They'll go on to write Porgy and Bess, "Rhapsody in Blue," Girl Crazy and the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Of Thee I Sing, among many other shows and songs.

Donald Cook 09/26/1901 - Oct 1, 1961 performer - SPELLBOUND; THE MOON IS BLUE (Barbara Bel Geddes, Barry Nelson); LOVE ME LITTLE (Joan Bennett); MASQUERADE (Glenda Farrell, Cloris Leachman)

Jacqueline DeWit 09/26/1912 - Jan 7, 1998 performer - TAMING OF THE SHREW (Lunt & Fontanne)

Patrick O'Neal 09/26/1927 - Jan 7, 1998 performer, owner of O'NEAL'S BALLOON, O'NEAL'S, GINGER MAN [named after off-bway play] Restaurants - A FAR COUNTRY (Kim Stanley, Steven Hill, Ellen Weston, Sam Wanamaker); 1961 NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (Bette Davis, James Farentino, Margaret Leighton)

Philip Bosco 09/26/1930 performer, Husband of Nancy Bosco - origs DONNYBROOK!; A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (Paul Scofield); 1966 THE ALCHEMIST (Nancy Marchand); 1969 THE MISER (Blythe Danner); 1969 THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE (Barbara eda-Young); PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD (Tancy Cronin, David Birney); NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH (Cleavon Little); 1995 THE HEIRESS; orig. MOON OVER BUFFALO; 1998 12TH NIGHT; orig. COPENHAGEN

Mary Beth Hurt 09/26/1948 performer - 1974 LOVE FOR LOVE (Glenn Close, David Dukes, Charles Kimbrough, Patricia Conwell); THE RULES OF THE GAME (Joan Van Ark); TRELAWNY OF THE "WELLS" (Mandy Patinken, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow); 1977 THE CHERRY ORCHARD (1 of my fav prod'ns); CRIMES OF THE HEART (Peter MacNicol); THE MISANTHROPE (Stanley Tucci, Brian Bedford); BENEFACTORS (Sam Waterston, Simon Jones); orig THE SECRET RAPTURE (Steven Vinivoch, Blair Brown, Jennifer Van Dyck); 1996 A DELICATE BALANCE

Lawrence Leritz 09/26/1962 performer, Also: "Boobs! The Musical" (Producer and Choreographer) - FONTEYN & NUREYEV ON BROADWAY


1911 William Brady's Playhouse hosts the opening tonight for Bought and Paid For, a new play by George Broadhurst about a wealthy man who eventually wins the love of his wife. During the show's 431 performances, an actor in the show, Frank Craven, is elevated to stardom. Craven will go on to play the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's Our Town in 1938. Brooks Atkinson once commented that Craven was "[t]he best pipe and pants-pocket actor in the business."

1933 The first major success of the Group Theatre, Men in White, opens tonight at the Broadhurst Theatre. The show, written by Sidney Kingsley, is about a doctor who has to deal with decisions regarding love vs. duty. Issues included abortion and social reform -- the theatre style for which the Group Theatre would became known. Lee Strasberg directs a cast of what will become a group of very influential people in the theatre: Luther Adler, Robert Lewis, Clifford Odets, J. Edward Bromberg, and Ruth Nelson. Elia Kazan had only one line, "Hello, sweetheart."

1957 "It all began tonight" at the Winter Garden Theatre as West Side Story opens. The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents classic is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but has New York teenage gangs pitted against each other instead of Verona's dueling families. It includes such classic songs as "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." The show is choreographed and staged by Peter Gennaro and Jerome Robbins, who came up with the show's original 1949 concept: "East Side Story." The piece evolved, with new music, a new location and a new ethnicity to become what it is tonight. Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera star (also Martin Charnin, Reri Grist, Tony Mordente, Lee Becker). A film version starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer and George Chakiris (who was a member of the original London cast) was released in 1961.

From the Second City 09/26/1961 - Barbara Harris, Alan Arkin, Paul Sand, Eugene Troobnick, Severn Darden

1968 Robert Shaw's drama The Man in the Glass Booth opens, beginning a six-month run that will win it 1969 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Directing (Harold Pinter) and Best Actor in a Play for Donald Pleasance, who plays a Nazi war criminal on trial. (also in the play, F. Murray Abraham, Abe Vigoda)


1955 - Debbie Reynolds married singing idol Eddie Fisher. The couple made it through four tempestuous years.

1962 - “Come and listen to the story ’bout a man named Jed...” The Beverly Hillbillies aired on CBS-TV. U.S. audiences were enchanted with Jed, Ellie Mae, Granny, Jethro, Miss Jane and that banker feller. Enchanted, as in a trance, in fact, for 216 shows. Bluegrass stars Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs had the honor of composing and recording the theme song and hit record, The Ballad of Jed Clampett.

1964 - Gilligan’s Island began its 98-show run on CBS. The TV show starred Bob Denver in the title role, Jim Backus as Mr. Howell, Natalie Schafer as Lovey Howell, Alan Hale as the Skipper, Russell Johnson as the Professor and Dawn Wells and Tina Louise as Mary Ann and Ginger, respectively.

1984 - History was made at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Neil Shicoff, lead tenor in the The Tales of Hoffmann, was unable to perform due to illness. His understudy, a chap named William Lewis, was a bit under the weather as well, and his voice began to falter during the performance. So, Kenneth Riegel was called in to sing the part from the orchestra pit while Mr. Lewis lip-synced the part on stage.

1984 - Liz Taylor starred in the season opener of the TV soap, Hotel. Despite incredibly biting bits from John Belushi on NBC’s Saturday Night Live regarding her plumpness at the time, viewers were quite amazed when Ms. Taylor appeared in a gown -- with a 24-inch waistline. Definitely no more, “I followed Liz Taylor to McDonald’s to watch the numbers change,” from Joan Rivers.

1986 - Dallas, on CBS-TV, smashed NBC’s Miami Vice in the overnight ratings. The episode, from Southfork Ranch, had Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) returning from the dead -- in the shower, no less! Pam Ewing (Victoria Principal) was a bit perplexed. So were the viewers. Somebody had stayed up very, very late writing this episode

(sources: IBDB, NYT's ON THIS DAY,’s Those Were The Days,

Updated On: 9/26/03 at 10:02 PM