Broadway, West End Star Elaine Stritch Dies at 89

(AFP) Veteran Broadway actress and singer Elaine Stritch, who enthralled theatre audiences for 70 years with her brassy voice and quick-fire comedy delivery, has died. She was 89.

Her death at home in Birmingham, Michigan was confirmed to US media by a close friend. Before moving to Michigan last year, she had lived for years at New York's luxury Carlyle Hotel.

Broadway announced it would dim its lights for one minute at 7:45 pm on Friday in honor of the legend, who was nominated for four Tony Awards and won three Emmys.

Stritch's career began in the 1940s and despite film and television credits, she was most famous for starring on Broadway and London's West End in plays, musicals and solo cabaret shows.

Admired by English playwright Noel Coward, she won rave reviews in his musical "Sail Away" in 1961 and acclaim for appearing in an off-Broadway revival of "Private Lives." 

She had star turns in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," and Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" -- particularly admired for her rendition of the vodka-soaked song "The Ladies Who Lunch."

"Collaborating with some of Broadway's greatest playwrights and composers throughout her lengthy career, her signature numbers and singular style created a memorable legacy," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League.

Stritch recently won over younger audiences portraying Alec Baldwin's mother on the hit sitcom "30 Rock." She also made memorable guest appearances on "Law and Order" and "3rd Rock From the Sun."

On film, she made a string of appearances in Woody Allen movies including "September" and "Small Time Crooks," as well as alongside Richard Gere in "Autumn In New York."

In 2002, she won further critical acclaim in New York and London with her one-woman show "Elaine Stritch At Liberty," which won a Special Theatrical Event Tony Award.

Her last performance on Broadway came in 2010 as Madame Armfeldt in the revival of the Sondheim?Hugh Wheeler musical "A Little Night Music," in which she replaced Angela Lansbury.

Last year, Internet video streaming site Netflix produced "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," a documentary about her life and career.

She married actor John Bay in 1973. He died in 1982.


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