The Broadway star who turned Stephen Sondheim’s song of survival “I’m Still Here” into a personal anthem of triumph over booze, diabetes, unfaithful lovers, indifferent producers, demanding directors, fawning fans, and long stretches of unemployment before achieving the status of Living Legend in her later decades, died last Thursday. She passed away in Birmingham, MI, the Detroit suburb to which she decamped a year ago after living the fabulous life for years at Madison Avenue’s Hotel Carlyle. She was 89. Broadway dimmed its lights for one minute on Friday at 7:45 PM in tribute. Join Host Robert Hammond as he pays tribute to Elaine Stritch
“Elaine Stritch’s big personality was matched by her big talent,” Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin said.
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.