Great Performances mourns the passing of Broadway and West End legend Elaine Stritch (February 2, 1925 – July 17, 2014) who was equally adept at musicals (Company, Sail Away, Goldilocks, Show Boat), drama (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), and comedy (Private Lives, Any Wednesday). A specialist in the work of Stephen Sondheim, she took over the role of Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music in 2010. Her acclaimed one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty won a Tony Award.
She was particularly proud of understudying Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam, while appearing in a revival of Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey at the very same time.
In London’s West End, she appeared in such plays as Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady and Tennessee Williams’ Small Craft Warnings. She also appeared in the long running sitcom “Two’s Company” in the 1970s, which aired on public TV in the U.S.
No stranger to television (“The Ellen Burstyn Show,” “The Cosby Show”), she won three Emmy Awards (for “Law and Order,” a documentary about “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” and “30 Rock”) and she appeared on Great Performances several times. She stopped the show with Sondheim’s “Broadway Baby” in Follies in Concert, and was featured on both My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies, and most recently, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert. She was also seen in the GP documentary, The Noel Coward Story, as Coward was a lifelong friend and colleague.
She was also a frequent guest on Theater Talk which airs on THIRTEEN.
Her film appearances, including Woody Allen’s September and Small Time Crooks and Cadillac Man with Robin Williams, to name just a few, were always enlivened by her presence.
She was recently the subject of the theatrically released documentary, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.