The world is down one beloved loudmouth dame: Comedic gem and Broadway icon Elaine Stritch died today (July 17) at her home in Birmingham, Michigan, as The New York Times reports. She was 89.
Though Gen Y might know her best as Jack Donaghy's ornery mother on 30 Rock, Elaine's career stretches back to 1944, when she made her stage debut.
After years of supporting parts in plays and musicals on and off Broadway — including a 1956 Tony nomination for the play Bus Stop — Elaine nabbed the lead role in the 1958 comedic musical Goldilocks.
"Miss Stritch can destroy life throughout the country with the twist she gives to the dialogue," New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in his review of the production. "She takes a wicked stance, purses her mouth thoughtfully and waits long enough to devastate the landscape."
She then took major roles in the Noël Coward play Sail Away in 1961 and in the 1970 musical Company, walking away with Tony nominations for both.
On screen, Elaine appeared in films like A Farewell to Arms, Out to Sea, Small Town Crooks, and Autumn in New York.
She was married once — to John Bay, heir to an English muffin company, from 1973 until his death in 1982. She famously sent English muffins as Christmas presents.
In recent years, Elaine appeared in a one-woman show at New York's Public Theater, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and performed in regular cabaret acts at The Carlyle Hotel, where she lived for much of the past decade.
She was also the subject of a critically-acclaimed 2013 documentary, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.
Of all the quotes and witticisms that passed Elaine's lips in her 89-year life, few seem more fitting for the consummate performer than this one: "Audiences are not strangers to me. They're the best friends I've got in my life."
Source: The New York Times