Skip to main content

Versatile Broadway actress Elaine Stritch dies at 89

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Elaine Stritch, the brassy, gravelly voiced actress of stage and screen, died on July 17. She was 89. In February of this year, she attended a screening of "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me." Look back at her legendary career. Elaine Stritch, the brassy, gravelly voiced actress of stage and screen, died on July 17. She was 89. In February of this year, she attended a screening of "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me." Look back at her legendary career.
HIDE CAPTION
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
Elaine Stritch's legendary career
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Elaine Stritch will be buried next to her husband in Chicago
  • NEW: Broadway to dim lights in Stritch's memory Friday night
  • Her autobiographical one-woman show "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" won a Tony and Emmy
  • Stritch made her Broadway debut in 1946

(CNN) -- Actress Elaine Stritch, known for her brash persona, gravelly voice and versatility over seven decades on Broadway, died Thursday, longtime friend Julie Keyes told CNN. She was 89.

Stritch died at her Birmingham, Michigan, home early Thursday, surrounded by family, Keyes said.

Funeral arrangements have not been made, but Stritch will be buried next to her husband, John Bay, in Chicago next week, Keyes said.

The marquees of Broadway theaters will be dimmed for one minute in Stritch's memory at 7:45 p.m. Friday, the Broadway League said.

"Elaine Stritch's big personality was matched by her big talent," Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin said. "Collaborating with some of Broadway's greatest playwrights and composers throughout her lengthy career, her signature numbers and singular style created a memorable legacy."

Click through to see people who died in 2014. Click through to see people who died in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014
Actress drops F-bomb on 'Today'

New York City named Stritch one of its Living Landmarks in 2003.

Just 17 when she moved to New York to study acting, Stritch made her Broadway debut in 1946.

She was nominated for five Tony Awards and eight primetime Emmys over her long career. She did not win a Tony until her autobiographical one-woman show -- "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" -- won the 2002 special theatrical event Tony.

Her 2002 performance also won an Emmy after it was made into an HBO show. Stritch was awarded two other acting Emmys, including one for a guest star role on "Law & Order" and one for playing Alec Baldwin's mother on "30 Rock."

Stritch was born in Detroit in 1925 but moved to New York City to study acting when she was 17.

Her Broadway debut came in "Loco," a comedy that ran for just a month in October 1946. Her first musical role on Broadway came a year later in "Angel in the Wings."

"The Ladies Who Lunch," from Stephen Sondheim's "Company," became her signature song when she sang it on Broadway in 1971. The performance earned her a Tony actress nomination.

Her other Tony nominations came from "Bus Stop" in 1956 and "Sail Away" in 1962.

People we've lost in 2014

CNN's Jane Caffrey contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
updated 6:26 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The creator of "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died, according to his publisher, Scholastic.
updated 9:59 PM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
Legendary photographer Michel du Cille, a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post, unexpectedly died while on assignment in Liberia.
updated 6:26 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Mary Ann Mobley, who was the first Mississippian to be crowned Miss America and then went on to a successful movie career, has died at 77.
updated 4:35 PM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley on the 1960s TV show "The Addams Family," has died at 59.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Ian McLagan, the Faces keyboardist who also played on records by artists like the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, has died at 69.
updated 7:27 PM EST, Tue December 2, 2014
American saxophonist Bobby Keys, who for years toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, has died.
updated 7:57 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Roberto Gomez Bolanos gained fame as a comedian, but he was also a writer, actor, screenwriter, songwriter, film director and TV producer.
updated 3:40 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Ryan Knight, a cast member on MTV's "Real World: New Orleans," has died at age 28.
updated 10:49 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
P.D. James, the British novelist renowned for her crime novels featuring detective Adam Dalgliesh as well as such works as "The Children of Men," has died at age 94.
updated 3:38 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A file picture taken on August 20, 2001 shows Lebanese popular singer Sabah displaying her medal after being honored at the opening of the 7th Cairo International Song festival in Cairo. Famed Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, whose seven-decade career made her one of the Arab world's best-known entertainers, died on November 26, 2014 at the age of 87, state media announced.
Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, died in Beirut. She was 87.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has died at age 78.
updated 4:56 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle on Friday. She was 32.
updated 6:40 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Mike Nichols, the award-winning director and pioneering comedian who was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award, has died at 83.
updated 9:13 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Jimmy Ruffin, silky-voiced singer of the Motown classic "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," died in Las Vegas at 78.
updated 2:04 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Prolific television producer Glen Larson passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer. He produced many popular shows, including "Knight Rider" and "Battlestar Galactica."
updated 4:56 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle at the age of 32.
updated 9:24 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne -- the first and, even now, only woman to lead that city -- has died.
updated 6:12 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
Actress Carol Ann Susi, whose brash Brooklyn accent reverberated on the hit television series "The Big Bang Theory," has died after a battle with cancer.
ADVERTISEMENT