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Veteran actress Elaine Stritch dies at 89

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Elaine Stritch, the sharp-tongued acting veteran whose work on Broadway is legendary, died July 17, 2014. She had turned 89 the previous February.

Making her stage debut in 1944, Stritch debuted on Broadway only two years later. From small parts, to revue appearances, to leading and character roles, Stritch appeared in comedies, musicals, and dramas over the next several decades. She was nominated for the Tony Award five different times; in 1956, 1962, 1971, 1976, and 2002 when her one-woman show “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” won for Best Special Theatrical Event.

Along with her decades of Broadway success, Stritch worked in early television as far back as 1949. Along with appearing in numerous dramatic anthology programs such as “Studio One” in the 1950s, Stritch was also the original Trixie Norton opposite Art Carney on Jackie Gleason’s very first “Honeymooners” sketch (with Pert Kelton as Alice). Stritch also worked extensively in British television such as “Two’s Company,” as well as more recent American shows such as “The Cosby Show,” “Law and Order” and “Oz.” Stritch was up for the role of Dorothy on “The Golden Girls” but it went to Bea Arthur.

Preferring to do stage work, Stritch did appear in some movies over the decades, including “Three Violent People” (1956), “A Farewell To Arms” (1957), and “The Perfect Furlough” (1958). After living and working in London for years, Stritch returned to the states in the 1980s to appear in films like “Cocoon: The Return” (1988), “Out To Sea” (1997), “Small Time Crooks” (2000), and “Monster in Law” (2005).

Her candid and revealing one-woman autobiographical show “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” is a caustic, funny look at her life and career, including her struggles with alcoholism and diabetes, as well as the devastating 1982 death of her husband. At the time of her death, Ms. Stritch was living in Birmingham, Michigan.

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