TRIBUTES have been paid to the singer and actress Elaine Stritch who passed away at the age of 89.
Ms Stritch was a star on both sides of the Atlantic with performances on stage and screen. She began her career during the 1940s in the Broadway production of Loco. It was the start of her long and successful association with Broadway.
She was equally at home appearing in plays and musicals as well as moving into television in the 1950s, appearing in dramatic roles as well as comedy sketches.
Ms Stritch, who was renowned for her distinctive sense of style, received Tony Award nominations in the early years of her career for performances on Broadway in Bus Stop (1955) and in Noël Coward’s Sail Away (1961). She won a Tony Award in 2001 for her one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty.
In 1970, she appeared in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Her gravelly-voiced rendition of Ladies Who Lunch from the show was to prove a massive hit with audiences over the years.
In the 1970s she spent a long period working in Britain, appearing in a series of West End productions, including Tennessee Williams’ Small Craft Warnings and Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady. During this period she also starred alongside Donald Sinden in the hit TV sit-com Two’s Company, which ran between 1975 and 1979. Her husband, John Bay, made an appearance in the sit-com (see below).
Her film credits included Too Many Thieves (1967), September (1987) and Cadillac Man (1990). On television, she won Emmy Awards for her work on Law & Order (1993), for a documentary about her one-woman show in 2004 and in 2007 for 30 Rock, in which she starred with Alec Baldwin.
She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1995.
Ms Stritch, who battled problems with alcohol for a time, married John Bay in 1973. She later admitted that her drinking had worsened following her husband’s death in 1982.
After her health began to fail, she announced plans to retire to Michigan in 2013 and performed a series of farewell shows in New York. She passed away at her home in Birmingham, Michigan.
Many warm tributes were paid to the actress and singer.
Liza Minnelli described her as “a magnificant woman in every sense of the word... her talent and spunk will be greatly missed”.
Alec Baldwin tweeted that Ms Stritch had been “a woman that I loved and admired, and a true one in a million”. He added: “I’m sure that even God is a bit nervous right now. I love you, Elaine”.
To see archive footage of Ms Stritch performing Ladies Who Lunch, click here.
To see an excerpt from the sit-com Two’s Company, featuring Ms Stritch and her husband John Bay, click here.
To view a clip of Ms Stritch talking to David Letterman on The Late Show in 1996, click here.
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