Speed Reads

RIP

Broadway icon Elaine Stritch dies at 89

Legendary actress and singer Elaine Stritch, whose career spanned 70 years in Broadway, film, and television, has died. She was 89.

Stritch was a pioneer — a consummate performer who prided herself on unrepentant honesty in both her work and her life. Her first Tony nomination came just a decade into her career, for her role in 1956's Bus Stop. Over the years, she appeared in dozens of plays, becoming particularly noted for her association with Stephen Sondheim. Here's Stritch performing Sondheim's "The Ladies Who Lunch," which quickly became one of her defining anthems:

But for all the strengths of her performances, Stritch was just as well known for her indomitable, outspoken personality, which made her a uniquely beloved figure among her colleagues and friends. She spoke about everything from her tumultuous love life to her battle with alcoholism with humor and candor, refusing to censor herself in any way. Here's her 2004 Emmy acceptance speech, which perfectly captures her spirit:

In addition to her shows, Stritch was most recently visible on NBC's 30 Rock as Colleen Donaghy, the tough-love matriarch of Alec Baldwin's character. (She netted an Emmy for the performance in 2007.) She was also the subject of an acclaimed documentary, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me — a warm tribute that is packed with footage of Stritch at her vibrant, irascible best. Watch a trailer below. --Scott Meslow