Elaine Stritch
American actress and vocalist
Elaine Stritch
Elaine Stritch is an American actress and vocalist. She has appeared in numerous stage plays and musicals, feature films, and many television programs. She is known for her performance of "The Ladies Who Lunch" in Stephen Sondheim's 1970 musical Company, her 2001 one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and recently for her role as Jack Donaghy's mother Colleen on NBC's 30 Rock.
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Comic and Playwright Lisa Lampanelli- My Play "Stuffed" Shows That We're All Really Still Working On Ourselves"
Huffington Post - 4 months
The word "metamorphosis" does not even do Lisa Lampanelli justice. From notorious roaster to playwright, Lampanelli is slowly moving to a more centered direction with her play "Stuffed" focusing on four women with varied eating issues, but still keeping her signature razor sharp wit on stage during her stand up. Lampanelli sat down to chat with me about her new play "Stuffed", her absolute adoration for Howard Stern, and how she is learning to not compare herself to anyone else at all. You have gone through a complete transformation, both personally and professionally. You appeared recently on "The Wendy Williams Show" and looked absolutely stunning! Yes, thank you! My boobs will never match hers though, I'll tell you that! (laughs). Basically, I think some of the weight helped take some of the walls down in reality, so basically I got a little more confident. I'm definitely not super confident, but I am confident that I don't have to hide behind those layers of fat and ...
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Huffington Post article
Forced to Provide Service With a Smile
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Not everyone has a desk job. Some people wait tables, clean bathrooms, work as nannies, or push drink carts through an airplane's passenger cabin. Others may be adjunct professors, nurses, bus drivers, or garbagemen. Each and every service job is accompanied by occupational hazards that the general public blithely ignores. And yet, the working class provides plenty of material for playwrights and screenwriters. From bus drivers like Ralph Kramden (The Honeymooners) to teachers like Jean Brodie (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie); candy stripers, blue collar (and no collar) workers find a place in our culture. Bay area audiences recently attended the American premiere of Penelope Skinner's dramedy, Fred's Diner, at the Magic Theatre and Marisa Wegrzyn's poignant look at exhausted flight attendants in the Aurora Theatre Company's production of Mud Blue Sky. Several years ago, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley staged Joan Holden's adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich's nonfiction ...
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Huffington Post article
Home for the Holidays? 10 Best Things About New York
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Okay, so the radio is blaring sounds of Silver Bells and Winter Wonderland , and I'm wandering the city sidewalks in summer cotton. The fleece nightgown is sitting in waiting, as are the earmuffs, the woolen scarves, the cashmere sweaters and the L.L. Bean moose patterned socks. I was beginning to feel a bit like Charlie Brown's sad little tree. With no immediate vacation plans, I was drooping in a miniature Manhattan studio apartment over-stuffed with leftover wrapping paper, string and ribbons, craving a smidgen of effervescence. Yup. In my attempt at giving back, and in my somewhat obsessive annual tradition, I purchased no less than 500 gifts for the people that touch my lives every day -- from the baristas to the manicurists, the florist to the pharmacist, the bartenders to the Turkish market cashiers. The downside? Packages are overtaking my apartment like a giant gift-wrapped BLOB. Not to mention my office cubicle. My bosses are beginning to wonder why I'm using my desk ...
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Huffington Post article
Writer-Performer Justin Sayre Ponders 'What Kind Of Gay' He Is
Huffington Post - over 1 year
In his latest clip for HuffPost Gay Voices, Justin Sayre explains "what kind of gay" he aspired to be in the years before he became an established writer and entertainer. He cites Elaine Stritch and New York cabaret duo Kiki and Herb as his personal inspirations, quipping, "That's why I never wear pants anymore!" Ultimately, though, he doesn't think it matters "what kind of gay" you are, because "you can be any kind of gay you want, because we'll all be there for you, in on the joke." Sayre's "International Order of Sodomites" (I.O.S.) gathers once a month for "The Meeting," a variety show honoring an artist or a cultural work that is iconic to the gay community. The next installment of "The Meeting" hits Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in New York on Nov. 22 and features performances by Tonya Pinkins, Nathan Lee Graham and Natalie Douglas, among others.  He'll head to the West Coast for a show at San Francisco's Oasis on Dec. 12.  Also in December, Sayre returns t ...
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Huffington Post article
DVDs: "The Great American Dream Machine" Turned TV "Inside Out"
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Ok, the holidays are approaching. So we've got repackaged holiday TV classics slapped together so they can be restocked in the big box stores. We've got complete sets of "classic" (or just popular or just cult-y enough) TV shows in cheaper than ever sets. We've got some hit films. We'e got pirates fighting over treasure in "Black Sails" and thank God we have Criterion and their Eclipse label to uncover some treasures from the cinematic past. Arghhhh! THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE ($39.98 DVD; Entertainment One) BEST OF ENEMIES ($29.98 BluRay; Magnolia) BLACK SAILS SEASON TWO ($59.99 BluRay; Anchor Bay) BETTER CALL SAUL SEASON ONE ($65.99 BluRay; Sony) Great television has been produced since they started broadcasting in the 1940s. (The Nazis delayed the spread of TV, actually, or it would have been dominant even sooner.) The decline of TV began at just about the same time.Sometimes, strangely, both happen at the same moment. Certainly The Great American Dream ...
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Huffington Post article
The New Age of Narcissism
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Back in the 1970s, when Tom Wolfe started referring to Baby Boomers as the "Me Generation," he could not have imagined how his words would be applied to future generations. Thanks to smartphones, digital technology and social media, it has become nearly impossible for anyone who is online to avoid the tidal waves of narcissism coursing through cyberspace. As a diarist on Daily Kos astutely noted while referring to the brouhaha surrounding Kentucky's Kim Davis: In the United States today, believers have become spoiled teens who were never disciplined or even told that the world does not revolve around them. They do not have the personal conviction of their faith, have become entitled, and feel that the world must accommodate itself to whatever they claim to believe at the moment so that they are never inconvenienced. Courage? That's for suckers. These spoiled brats and cowards are the opposite of believers. They are spoiled whiners. Members of recent generations have bee ...
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Huffington Post article
Elaine Stritch: 'I'm Not Easy'
NPR - over 2 years
The legendary actress Elaine Stritch died this week. NPR's Scott Simon remembers her career and an interview he had with her earlier this year. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
How Many People Can Say They've Been Yelled At by Elaine Stritch?
Huffington Post - over 2 years
"I'm so so so sorry for your loss," a friend wrote on my Facebook wall this morning. That is how I knew Elaine Stritch had passed. For the next few hours I received tens of text messages expressing sympathy. "Are you OK?" "Long live the queen!" "Rough. Fucking. News." There was one that just said, "STRITCH!" with five iPhone emoticons of the yellow face that looks like it's crying a river. Clearly my love of Elaine is no secret. My Stritch obsession started in high school. Until I discovered Pitchfork in college, I rarely listened to popular music. I filled my days with musical soundtracks I'd burned from the local library. From Gershwin to Sondheim to Rent, I gave myself a thorough education in the American musical. I once called the local NPR station to tell their theater reviewer that she didn't know what she was talking about. I grew up near San Diego, in a small suburb famous for surfers and poinsettias. Tan and blonde was the dress code, and I was anything ...
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Huffington Post article
Broadway actress Elaine Stritch dies
CNN - over 2 years
Actress Elaine Stritch, known for her brash persona, gravelly voice and versatility over seven decades on Broadway, died Thursday, a longtime friend Julie Keyes told CNN. She was 89.
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CNN article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Elaine Stritch
  • 2014
    Age 89
    Stritch died in her sleep at her home in Birmingham, Michigan on July 17, 2014.
    More Details Hide Details She was 89 years old. She suffered from diabetes and had stomach cancer at the time of her death, three months after surgery for the disease, although cancer was not cited as an immediate cause of her death. Stritch's voice and vocal delivery are spoofed in the Forbidden Broadway songs "The Ladies Who Screech" and "Stritch", parodies of "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Zip", songs she performed in the musicals Company and Pal Joey. In 2009, a parody by Bats Langley entitled "How the Stritch Stole Christmas" (loosely based on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas") appeared on YouTube. On The Big Gay Sketch Show in 2007, she was spoofed (and portrayed by Nicol Paone) as a Wal-Mart greeter who is still a theater gal at heart. In a later episode, Stritch is spoofed as an airport security guard, who's still "on" and isn't able to tone down her over-the-top antics. In yet another episode, "Stritch" is promoting her self-titled perfume "Stritchy" in dramatic fashion when she is confronted by the real-life Elaine Stritch, who makes a cameo appearance.
  • 2013
    Age 88
    In March 2013, Stritch announced she was leaving New York and relocating to Birmingham, Michigan.
    More Details Hide Details Stritch was candid about her struggles with alcohol. She took her first drink at 14 and began using it as a crutch before performances to vanquish her stage fright and insecurities. Her drinking worsened after Bay's death, and she sought help after experiencing issues with effects of alcoholism, as well as the onset of diabetes. Elaine Stritch at Liberty discusses the topic at length.
  • 2010
    Age 85
    Between musical numbers, Stritch told stories from the world of stage and screen, tales from her everyday life and personal glimpses of her private tragedies and triumphs. She performed at the Cafe Carlyle in early 2010 and in fall 2011 in At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin' Sondheim One Song at a Time. Strich was married to the actor John Bay from 1973 until his death in 1982.
    More Details Hide Details He was part of the family that owns the Bay's English Muffins company, and Stritch sent English muffins as gifts to friends. Said John Kenley: "Every Christmas, she still sends me English muffins." When she was based in London, Stritch and her husband lived at the Savoy Hotel. She was good friends with gossip columnist Liz Smith, with whom she shared a birthday (February 2).
  • 2005
    Age 80
    Stritch performed a cabaret act in New York City at the Cafe Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel, where she was a resident from 2005 until she left New York in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Her first show at the Carlyle was titled "At Home at the Carlyle". The New York Times reviewer wrote: Amazingly, none of the 16 songs she performs have ever been in her repertory, and just as amazingly, you don't miss signature numbers... Letting them go has allowed her to venture into more sensitive emotional territory. Interpreting stark, talk-sing versions of Rodgers and Hart's "He Was Too Good to Me", "Fifty Percent" from the musical Ballroom, and Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's "That's Him", she comes into her own as a dramatic ballad singer.
  • 2001
    Age 76
    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.
    More Details Hide Details It then ran on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre from February 21 to May 27, 2002, and then, also in 2002, at London's Old Vic Theatre. Newsweek noted: Now we see how At Liberty, the amazing one-woman show Stritch is moving to Broadway from the Public Theater this week, acquired the credit, "Constructed by John Lahr. Reconstructed by Elaine Stritch". "The reconstruction means I had the last say", she says. "Damn right I did."... In case you didn't notice, Stritch is not the kind of woman who goes in for the sappy self-indulgence that pollutes most one-person shows. In fact, At Liberty is in a class by itself, a biting, hilarious and even touching tour-de-force tour of Stritch's career and life. Almost every nook and cranny of "At Liberty" holds a surprise. Turns out she dated Marlon Brando, Gig Young and Ben Gazzara, though she dropped Ben when Rock Hudson showed an interest in her. "And we all know what a bum decision that turned out to be", she says. And then there were the shows. A British writer recently called Stritch "Broadway's last first lady", and when you see her performing her signature numbers from Company and Pal Joey and hear her tell tales of working with Merman, Coward, Gloria Swanson and the rest, it's hard to argue. Especially since she does it all dressed in a long white shirt and form-fitting black tights.
  • 1996
    Age 71
    In 1996 she played Claire in a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, with Variety writing: "Equally marvelous is Stritch, with a meatier role than her recent foray as Parthy in Show Boat.'
    More Details Hide Details To watch her succumb to the vast amounts of alcohol Claire ingests, folding and refolding her legs, slipping – no, oozing – onto the floor, her face crumpling like a paper bag, is to witness a different but equally winning kind of thespian expertise. It's a master class up there."
  • 1993
    Age 68
    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.
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  • 1982
    Age 57
    After her husband, John Bay, died from brain cancer in 1982, Stritch returned to America, and after a further lull in her career and struggles with alcoholism, Stritch began performing again.
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    In 1982, Stritch appeared on an edition of the long-running BBC Radio comedy series Just a Minute alongside Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud and Barry Cryer.
    More Details Hide Details The show was described by long-time chairman Nicholas Parsons as being among the most memorable because of the way Stritch stretched the show's rules. She described Kenneth Williams as capable of making "one word into a three-act play".
  • 1980
    Age 55
    In 1980, Stritch starred in another series for LWT, Nobody's Perfect (the British version of Maude) - not to be confused with the 1980 American series of the same name, which aired in the UK as Hart Of The Yard - playing Bill Hooper alongside Richard Griffiths as her husband Sam.
    More Details Hide Details Unsatisfied with the Anglicised scripts, Stritch herself adapted the original American scripts for all but one of the fourteen episodes (Griffiths handled the remaining one). Other British television appearances by Strich included Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. Although she appeared several times in different roles, perhaps her most memorable appearance was in the story "William and Mary", in which she played the wife of a man who has cheated death by having his brain preserved. She appeared on BBC 1's children's series, Jackanory, reading, among other stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. After returning to the United States, she appeared on The Edge of Night as vinegary nanny Mrs. DeGroot, then was cast as a regular on the short-lived The Ellen Burstyn Show in 1986. She appeared as the stern schoolteacher Mrs. McGee on three episodes of The Cosby Show (1989–90). She had a recurring role in Law & Order (1992, 1997) as Lanie Stieglitz. On April 26, 2007, she began guest appearances on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock as Colleen, the fearsome mother of Alec Baldwin's lead character, Jack Donaghy. Her later roles included Judge Grace Lema on Oz (1998); and Martha Albright (mother of Jane Curtin's character) on two episodes of 3rd Rock From the Sun (1997, 2001), alongside her Broadway co-star George Grizzard, who played George Albright.
  • 1979
    Age 54
    In 1979, both Stritch and Sinden were nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Two's Company, in the category "Best Light Entertainment Performance", losing out to Ronnie Barker.
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  • 1975
    Age 50
    In 1975, Stritch starred in the British LWT comedy series Two's Company opposite Sir Donald Sinden.
    More Details Hide Details She played Dorothy McNab, an American writer living in London who was known for her lurid and sensationalist thriller novels. Sinden played Robert, her English butler, who disapproved of practically everything Dorothy did and the series derived its comedy from the inevitable culture clash between Robert's very British stiff-upper-lip attitude and Dorothy's devil-may-care New York view of life. Two's Company was exceptionally well received in Britain and ran for four series until 1979.
  • 1972
    Age 47
    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.
    More Details Hide Details On tour and in stock, Stritch appeared in such musicals as No, No, Nanette, The King and I, I Married an Angel, and both as Vera Charles (opposite Janet Blair) and Mame Dennis in Mame. Strich's 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 a Honeymooners sketch with Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Pert Kelton. The character was originally a burlesque dancer, but the role was rewritten and recast after just one episode with the more wholesome looking Joyce Randolph playing the character as an ordinary housewife. Stritch's other television credits included a number of dramatic programs in the 1950s and 1960s, including Studio One. In the 1960 television season, Stritch appeared in the role of writer Ruth Sherwood in the CBS sitcom My Sister Eileen, opposite Shirley Bonne as her younger sister, Eileen Sherwood, an aspiring actress. The sisters, natives of Ohio, live in a brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village. The one-season series aired opposite Hawaiian Eye on ABC and Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall on NBC.
  • 1961
    Age 36
    The reconstructed 'Sail Away' opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 3, 1961", with Stritch giving what Howard Taubman of The New York Times said “must be the performance of her career.” In 1966, she played Ruth Sherwood in the musical Wonderful Town at New York's City Center, and appeared in an Off Broadway revival of Private Lives in 1968.
    More Details Hide Details Stritch became known as a singer with a brassy, powerful voice. She was the original performer cast in the role of Joanne in Stephen Sondheim's Company (1970) on Broadway.
    She starred in Noël Coward's Sail Away on Broadway in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Stritch started in the show in a "relatively minor role and was only promoted over the title and given virtually all the best songs when it was reckoned that the leading lady although excellent, was rather too operatic for a musical comedy". During out-of-town tryouts in Boston, Coward was "unsure about the dramatic talents" of one of the leads, opera singer Jean Fenn. They were, after all, engaged for their voices and it is madness to expect two singers to play subtle 'Noël Coward' love scenes with the right values and sing at the same time. Joe Layton suggested "What would happen if we just eliminated Fenn's role and gave everything to Stritch? The show was very old-fashioned, and the thing that was working was Elaine Stritch. Every time she went on stage she was a sensation."
  • 1952
    Age 27
    Stritch understudied Ethel Merman for Call Me Madam, and, at the same time, appeared in the 1952 revival of Pal Joey, singing "Zip".
    More Details Hide Details Stritch later starred in the national tour of Call Me Madam, and appeared in a supporting role in the original Broadway production of William Inge's play Bus Stop. She was the lead in the musical Goldilocks.
  • 1946
    Age 21
    However, her Broadway debut was in Loco in 1946, directed by Jed Harris, followed soon after by Made in Heaven (as a replacement) and then Angel in the Wings (1947), a revue in which she performed comedy sketches and the song "Civilization".
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    Stritch made her Broadway debut in the 1946 comedy Loco and went on to receive four Tony Award nominations; for the William Inge play Bus Stop (1956); the Noël Coward musical Sail Away (1962); the Stephen Sondheim musical Company (1971), which included her performance of the song "The Ladies Who Lunch", and for the revival of the Edward Albee play A Delicate Balance (1996).
    More Details Hide Details Her one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty, won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. Stritch relocated to London in the 1970s and starred in several West End productions, including Tennessee Williams' Small Craft Warnings (1973) and Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady (1974). She also starred with Donald Sinden in the ITV sitcom Two's Company (1975–79), which earned her a 1979 BAFTA TV Award nomination. She won an Emmy Award in 1993 for her guest role on Law & Order and another for the 2004 television documentary of her one-woman show. From 2007 to 2012, she had a recurring role as Colleen Donaghy on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, a role that won her a third Emmy in 2007.
  • 1944
    Age 19
    Stritch made her stage debut in 1944.
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    She made her professional stage debut in 1944 and appeared in numerous stage plays, musicals, feature films and television series.
    More Details Hide Details She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • 1940
    Age 15
    Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago from 1940 to 1958, was one of her uncles.
    More Details Hide Details She trained at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City under Erwin Piscator, alongside Marlon Brando and Bea Arthur.
  • 1925
    Age 0
    Stritch was born on February 2, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest daughter of Mildred (née Jobe; 1893–1987), a homemaker, and George Joseph Stritch (1892–1987), an executive with B.F. Goodrich.
    More Details Hide Details Her Roman Catholic family was well-off. Her father was of Irish descent, while her mother had Welsh ancestry.
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