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Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'd like to propose a toast to Elaine Stritch

I was lucky enough to see Elaine Stritch three times - first in the 1996 Broadway revival of the Edward Albee play, A Delicate Balance (for which she was nominated for a Tony Award), then in her Tony Award-winning one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, during its national tour in 2003, and finally in an interview with John Callaway at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2005. The actress, who died earlier today at age 89, also appeared on Broadway in Pal Joey (1952), On Your Toes (1954), Bus Stop (1955), Goldilocks (1958), Sail Away (1961), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1963), Company (1970), Show Boat (1994) and A Little Night Music (2010). Her many film and television credits include A Farewell to Arms (1957), My Sister Eileen (a 1960-61 CBS sitcom), Who Killed Teddy Bear? (1965), Two's Company (a 1975-79 British sitcom), The Ellen Burstyn Show (a 1986-87 ABC sitcom), September (1987), Cocoon: The Return (1988), Autumn in New York (2000), Monster-in-Law (2005) and Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2014). And she received a 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance as Alec Baldwin's mother on 30 Rock.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Elaine Stritch's long life and memorable career. She will be missed.

She was Ethel Merman's standby for the 1950 Broadway musical, Call Me Madam, and she later starred in the national tour with Russell Nype. Here they sing "You're Just in Love" from the show on The Colgate Comedy Hour on December 11, 1955.

The 1960-61 CBS sitcom, My Sister Eileen.

The PBS series, The Great American Dream Machine, in 1971.

The Dean Martin Show on October 28, 1971.

The 1975-79 British sitcom, Two's Company (her husband, actor John Bay, was a guest star in this episode - they were married from 1973 until his death in 1982).

Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson's 1977 BBC series.

The Royal Variety Performance in 1979.

The 1985 PBS program, Sylvia Fine Kaye's Musical Comedy Tonight III.

Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center on September 6 and 7, 1985.

She played Ellen Burstyn's mother and Megan Mullally's grandmother on the 1986-87 ABC sitcom, The Ellen Burstyn Show.

She played Mia Farrow's mother in the 1987 Woody Allen film, September.

CBS Sunday Morning featured a profile of her during the Broadway play, A Delicate Balance, in 1996.

Late Show with David Letterman on July 5, 1996.

Elaine Stritch at Liberty received a 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, and it was later adapted into a 2004 documentary, which received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special and Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.

She replaced Angela Lansbury in the Broadway revival of A Little Night Music in 2010.

She celebrated her 88th birthday on the PBS series, Theater Talk, in February 2013 with her friends, music director Rob Bowman and actor Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (who appeared with her in A Little Night Music).


Lance said...

What a sad day for the entertainment industry. Heaven has gained an AMAZING talent (until she comes around for her next lifetime). THANK YOU for all of your hard work... and, rest in peace, Elaine.

Jon said...

A brilliant tribute, my dear! As if we could expect anything less... Jx

Marc Harshbarger said...

Lance and Jon, I'm glad you liked my tribute to the divine Ms. Stritch.