'Brassy' Broadway Star Elaine Stritch Dead at 89

TV viewers will know her best as Jack Donaghy's mother

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2014 12:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – The phrase "Broadway legend" is getting heavy use today with the death of 89-year-old Elaine Stritch. Modern TV viewers might know her best as Jack Donaghy's mom on 30 Rock, but Stritch made her name on the stage, reports Entertainment Tonight. As the New York Times puts it, she was a "brassy, tart-tongued Broadway actress and singer who became a living emblem of show business durability and perhaps the leading interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s wryly acrid musings on aging." More recently, she was the subject of a 2013 documentary called Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. Throughout her career, Stritch spoke candidly of her love of drinking (she mostly gave it up in her 60s) and her rocky love life.

Variety relays this anecdote: "Stritch did not restrict her candor to the stage, once telling Variety’s Army Archerd that she 'flipped over Rock Hudson—and we all know what a bum decision that turned out to be,' referring to her failed romance with the closeted actor. These gritty, honest revelations contributed to the unique style Stritch brought to her work." She also appeared in some well-known films, including Woody Allen's September and Small Time Crooks, along with Monster In Law, Out to Sea, and Autumn in New York. Broadway World has a thorough rundown of her credits, which began with her professional stage debut in 1944.

This film image released by the Tribeca film Festival shows Elaine Stritch in a scene from Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.
This film image released by the Tribeca film Festival shows Elaine Stritch in a scene from "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me."   (AP Photo/Tribeca Film Festival)
Elaine Stritch performs at a White House Music Series event saluting Broadway in the East Room of the White House in 2010.
Elaine Stritch performs at a White House Music Series event saluting Broadway in the East Room of the White House in 2010.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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