Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WGA issues a 'call to arms' over proposed Fox-Time Warner deal



The Writers Guild of America, West is stepping up its fight over Rupert Murdoch's proposed $80-billion offer to acquire Time Warner Inc.

In an email letter to members Tuesday, the guild's leaders issued a "call to arms" in response to the offer from 21st Century Fox, saying the merger and other media deals threaten the livelihoods of writers.

"As writers, we face a landscape today that the founders of our Guild would hardly recognize,"  wrote Guild President Chris Keyser and negotiating committee Co-Chairs Chip Johannessen and Billy Ray. "For decades, there were dozens of significant buyers in television and movies. Then Federal limits on mergers disappeared."
The resulting industrywide consolidation has reduced opportunities for writers, the letter added: "Fewer movies being made. Fewer development deals. Smaller TV staffs. And lower quotes ... because the industry was suddenly in the hands of only six - six! - conglomerates. And the Writers Guild, without a voice in Washington to protest, was unable to save the business from strangling itself.

Now, those six conglomerates are threatening to swallow one another. Think of that. Between them, Fox and Time-Warner would control 40% of the industry’s writing jobs. What happens if more consolidation follows? What happens if one mega-company ends up devouring them all?"
Keyser and his colleagues concluded by asking members to contribute to the union's political action committee in Washington.
porate madness that threatens us all."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-wga-fox-time-warner-20140722-story.html

What about all that boring stuff you are forced to take in school?

Why bother with history and all the stuff other students say is boring in school...ask "Star Wars" creator George Lucas..

"Having a real understanding of history, literature, science and psychology is very important to being able to make movies."

- George Lucas

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Boulder City 31ers Dissertation, by Art Lynch

10 Lessons in Film Acting from Michael Caine



How do you make sure you stay in frame and focus while performing? What is the best way to work with off-camera actors while performing a close-up? How can props like cigarettes become a major headache? Michael Caine answers these questions and more as part of a film acting workshop broadcast on the BBC. You can watch the hour-long special in its entirety along with 10 film acting lessons pulled from it — highly recommended for actors and non-actors alike! - E.M. Taboada

10 lessons I learned from Sir Michael Caine on film acting:

1) When speaking to an actor off-camera, look into one eye and stick with it.

2) Film acting is, in large part, reacting and listening.

3) While rehearsing something with a fellow actor, if a crew member can come up and recognize you’re rehearsing vs. having a real conversation, then you aren’t doing it right.

4) An actor relaxes in front of the camera by concentrating, and knowing that you have no enemies on set, everyone’s on your side and doing their best to make you look your best for the movie.

5) The camera catches everything you do, so don’t be afraid to play things subtley.

6) If you’re going to smoke on-screen, you must plan it absolutely perfectly, don’t mess up the continuity.

7) All actors steal certain gestures and behaviors from other actors — but the best actors make these gestures their own. Steal from the best, and make it your own.

8) You can make four pictures as an actor in the time it takes a director to make one — so if you’re an actor planning on becoming a director, consider the financial aspect.

9) A majority of movie acting is relaxation. If you’re knocking yourself out, you’re doing it wrong.

10) Theater acting is an operation with a scalpel, movie acting is an operation with a laser.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Final Full Monty Pythos Live From London (Mostly)

Catch the rebroadcast at a theater near you...if you are at all a Monty Python film or even casual viewer...

But there are references and language below and in the actual broadcast...that may offend. So stop reading now...

It's a real live broadcast from London, complete with a full half hour intermission. All the favorites without PBS or broadcast censorship .... Like "isn' it nice to have a penny's...isn't it nice to have a twat" and well all of it....Shakespeare in anagrams..."every spirm is holy" and would 't you like to be Chinese. Chorus lines and video, (all Pythons including the dead and the only woman on the TV cast are in it.

The live mostly show is at specific times rebroadcast today to Thursday at movie ticket prices in many cities...it may come to DVD but no plans to do so announced. Still 15 minutes left of intermission, which feels strange in a movie theater thousands of miles from the live Oz Area / Stadium London event.

"English and American beer is like making live in a canoe....f-ing water."

The second half rocked...start with "sit on your face and tell me that you love me..pucker your lips and show me that it's true," then end with "always look At the bright side of life" , toss in dead Norwegian Blue Parrots and live appearances by Staphen Hawking along with Mike Myers and you get the idea.

Baby Boomers were crazier then you know!

After the final curtain call the obituary for Monty Python was posted on the large screen, followed by a remembrance for Graham Chapman, alter that was the message "now piss off and go home!"

Which we did.


At Monty Python Reunion Show, The Circus Makes One Last Flight

 
The Ministry of Silly Walks is one of Monty Python's most famous sketches. John Cleese's serious civil servant with ludicrous locomotion first appeared in 1970, on the troupe's television show Monty Python's Flying Circus. Today, long after the Pythons broke up, it remains enduringly popular on YouTube.
Cleese is 74 now, and he can't kick his heels as high as he once could. But his silly walks have made one final comeback — with the help of some backup dancers.
For three weeks, the five surviving members of the Pythons have been performing a series of shows in London, called Monty Python Live (Mostly). Thousands of fans have seized the opportunity to see the Pythons reunite and perform familiar routines.
Michael Palin, left, and Terry Gilliam perform on the opening night of Monty Python Live (Mostly). The final performance of the reunion show, on Sunday, will be live-streamed at theaters around the world.
Michael Palin, left, and Terry Gilliam perform on the opening night of Monty Python Live (Mostly). The final performance of the reunion show, on Sunday, will be live-streamed at theaters around the world.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Sunday night is the final performance — and the Pythons say it will be the last time they perform as a troupe. That show will reach a worldwide audience, as and TV channels present the performance to viewers in more than a hundred countries.
For some, though, a screen wasn't enough. Lars Muller traveled from Denmark to London in order to catch a live showing.
"I'm from the John Cleese Society," he says. "We are here to pay a tribute to Monty Python and John Cleese, because this is an amazing situation for us."
The popular British comedy troupe first appeared on TV in the late 1960s. They went on to release movies, albums, books and much more, and the members went on to do solo work once the group officially disbanded. Now, with an average age of 71, they've decided it's time to say goodbye.
The group promises classics with a twist in this multi-million dollar series of shows. Tickets for the first reunion performance sold out in a record 43 1/2 seconds.
Python fans span decades, continents and generations. Englishman James Moore recalls welcoming Monty Python to Canada when he worked for the British Council, and he says he's not the only member of his family who's a big Python fan.
"Not only me, but my children, who copied many of the sketches," Moore says. "Especially the parrot sketch — until we were sick and tired and knew every single word backwards."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrdEMERq8MA Kathleen Bahirj, who grew up watching the Pythons, has a guess for why they inspired such passion in fans like her. "I think at the time they were so unconventional, so weird — and even now they're very unconventional," she says. "There's been nothing like them, ever, ever, and I think they paved the way for the modern comedian."
This may be the last time the group will perform together, but their work will live on: The Pythons have launched their first-ever fan club and have released Monty Python's Total Rubbish, which features all nine of their albums.
Monty Python/YouTube

James Garner, RIP













James Garner: Cowboy, soldier, detective, astronaut, race car driver

CelebritiesEntertainmentMoviesTelevisionOpen-Wheel RacingPublic Transportation DisastersClint Eastwood
James Garner hit pay dirt as the charming professional gambler in ABC's 'Maverick'
In 'The Great Escape,' James Garner played a man nicknamed 'The Scrounger' for getting escape supplies
 
As Jim Rockford, Garner drove a Pontiac Firebird and lived in a Malibu mobile home
James Garner, who died Saturday at the age of 86, was tall, handsome and athletic, all qualities that made for longevity as a leading man.

Garner, a native Oklahoman, came to fame on television as the laid-back Bret Maverick in the 1950s western, went on to film stardom in the 1960s, then returned to television, most notably for an Emmy-winning run in the lighthearted detective series "The Rockford Files."

Shifting easily between comedy and drama, imbued with a sardonic charm, Garner was part of a line of Hollywood leading men, extending back to Cary Grant and forward to George Clooney, who meld good looks, charisma and self-deprecating wit. He played almost all the standard movie and television roles — cowboy, soldier, detective, astronaut, race car driver — but put his distinctive brand on each.

"Maverick"
After appearing in supporting roles in such features as "The Girl He Left Behind," "Toward the Unknown" and the acclaimed "Sayonara" with Marlon Brando, Garner hit pay dirt as the charming professional gambler in this ABC western comedy beginning in 1957.
Sharing the lead with Jack Kelly, who played Bret Maverick's brother Bart, Garner's deft performance opened the way to movie stardom, and he left the show in 1960. But he returned to the character twice, first in the short-lived 1981 TV series "Bret Maverick," and then in the 1994 movie costarring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster.

"Boys' Night Out"
Considered slightly risqué in its day, this 1962 farce directed by Michael Gordon casts Garner as the divorced friend of three middle-aged married guys (Tony Randall, Howard Duff and Howard Morris) who all commute to New York on the same train. The married guys are bored with their lives and fantasize about getting an apartment they could use as a "love nest" for trysts with other women. They ask Garner to find an apartment and a girl to go with it. And he does. Kim Novak plays the woman Garner hires as "housekeeper." In reality, she's a sociology graduate student studying "adolescent fantasies of the adult suburban male."

"The Thrill of It All"
One of two comedies teaming Garner and Doris Day in 1963 (the other was the tepid "Move Over, Darling"), this romance was penned by Carl Reiner and directed by Norman Jewison. Garner plays a successful doctor married to a stay-at-home mom played by Day. Garner's character starts to unravel and becomes jealous when she becomes the star of TV soap commercials and begins to out-earn him.

"The Great Escape"
Though Steve McQueen has the flashier role as the Cooler King in this 1963 World War II epic chronicling a mass escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp, Garner also gives a solid performance. Garner plays Flight Lt. Hendley, who is nicknamed "The Scrounger" because of his uncanny ability to get exactly what the men need for the escape. John Sturges directed. A box office hit and considered by many a classic, the film was nominated for only one Oscar, for editing.
"The Americanization of Emily"
Paddy Chayefsky wrote this dark 1964 comedy-drama that marked the first pairing of Garner and Julie Andrews. Set in London in 1944 during the weeks leading up to D-Day, the film gave Garner one of his most nuanced early roles as the cynical Lt. Cmd. Charles Madison, a self-proclaimed coward whose principal job is to keep higher-ranked officers supplied with women, liquor and good times. Charlie's cold heart begins to melt as he spends time with an earnest war widow played by Andrews. Arthur Hiller directed.

"Grand Prix"
Filmed in Europe with an international cast and directed by John Frankenheimer, the nearly three-hour epic is essentially a soap opera set in the hyper-masculine and dangerous world of Formula One racing, circa 1966. Garner is Pete Aron, an American racer looking for a comeback. Yves Montand plays Garner's world-weary chief rival and Eva Marie Saint and Jessica Walter the mostly decorative leading ladies. The viscerally photographed and edited race sequences, including some spectacular crashes, are highlights.

"Support Your Local Sheriff!"
This 1969 western spoof was a hit with critics and audiences and one of Garner's funniest comedies. Garner is Jason McCullough, a man from "back east" who moseys through a lawless frontier town on his way to "Australia." Though a series of wacky circumstances, Jason ends up sheriff and angers the all-powerful Danby clan led by Walter Brennan. Joan Hackett is on hand as Garner's love interest and Jack Elam is his deputy. Two years later, Garner, Elam and other members of the cast starred in the less-successful "Support Your Local Gunfighter."
"Marlowe"
Garner steps into the role played earlier by Humphrey Bogart and others as Raymond Chandler's famed gumshoe, Philip Marlowe, in this updated version of Chandler's 1949 novel, "The Little Sister." The 1969 thriller finds Marlowe in a truckload of trouble when he's hired to locate the brother of his client (Sharon Farrell). Along the way he meets with a blackmailed movie star (Gayle Hunnicutt), an exotic dancer (Rita Moreno) and even a karate expert (Bruce Lee in his first U.S. film).
"The Rockford Files"
After a short-lived return to series TV in the offbeat western, "Nichols," Garner landed this witty 1974-1980 NBC series created by Roy Huggins, who had produced "Maverick," and Stephen J. Cannell. Rockford, a wrongfully convicted ex-con-turned private eye, tooled around Los Angeles in a Pontiac Firebird, lived in a modest mobile home on Malibu beach and solved crimes with the help of an oddball entourage played by Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos and Stuart Margolin. In the 1990s, Garner reprised the role for a series of popular CBS TV movies.
"Victor/Victoria"
Garner and Julie Andrews teamed up 18 years after "Emily" for this musical comedy that explores sexual identities. Set in 1930s Paris, the film centers on a starving British singer (Andrews) who is befriended by a gay nightclub entertainer named Toddy (Robert Preston). He comes up with a plan to get Victoria a gig — she will masquerade as a man playing a female impersonator, with Toddy as "Victor's" gay lover. Enter the mustached Garner as the macho King Marchand, a Chicago gangster who finds himself perplexingly attracted to "Victor" after he catches the nightclub act. Blake Edwards, Andrews' husband, wrote and directed.
"Murphy's Romance"
Garner earned his only Oscar nomination for this late-in-life romantic comedy directed by Martin Ritt and released in 1985. Garner plays a small-town druggist who falls in love with a divorced mother of a teenage son trying to make it as a horse rancher, portrayed by Sally Field. Brian Kerwin is the obligatory obstacle separating the pair. Garner lost the Oscar to William Hurt in "Kiss of the Spider Woman."
"Space Cowboys"
Garner's role of an aging former astronaut in Clint Eastwood's sentimental 2000 drama fits him like a comfortable old shoe. Four retired astronauts — Garner, Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland — are sent back into space and save the world.
"The Notebook"
This 2004 tear-jerker, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, may be best known for launching the careers of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, but Garner received warm notices for his supporting role alongside Gena Rowlands.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Art Lynch Professional Resume (CV)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Be all that you can and should be....an artist.

Have we taken the art and craft out of acting and turned it into a business where anyone who can pay is called talent, where you are a consumer and not a participant in creating a quality product or potentially art? Are we buying into instant gratification and shylocks rather than the rewards of working hard, developing out skills, becomig someone or something that transcends business and the machine of Hollywood to reach our potential and new limits?

There is a reason Kevin Spacey supports the Ol' Vic and took many years at the peak of his career to be artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

There is a reason Patrick Stewart does Broadway and small art films when not doing cartoon character performances for big buck and therefore big money films.

There is a reason many actors you may see occasionally on TV or on film, or regulars who disappear from both for years at at time, teach others for almost no money, do theater, support non-profits that produce art.

We are a part of a great profession, not Walmart or some fast food that we call the entertainment industry of Hollywood.

Never forget that, and you will be even more valuable to Hollywood, because you will offer a quality product and the potential to raise their levels beyond dime-store levels.

"The Art and Craft of Acting Held Hostage" by Vic Perrillo

 Click "read more" to continue reading...more to come in future installments...

Friday, July 18, 2014

'It Happened One Night' gets makeover on 80th anniversary


MoviesEntertainment
'It Happened One Night' screening to feature world premiere of new digital restoration of classic comedy
Frank Capra's 1934 film was the first to sweep five major Oscar categories
It was the first comedy to win a best picture Oscar
Call it a cinematic convergence — those rare occurrences in Hollywood when things come together both in front of and behind the camera to create a true classic.
Frank Capra's breezy 1934 romantic comedy "It Happened One Night" is one of those moments.
"It Happened One Night" was the first film to sweep the five major Academy Awards categories — winning best picture (the first comedy to achieve the honor) as well as director for Frank Capra, lead actor for Clark Gable, lead actress for Claudette Colbert and adapted screenplay for Robert Riskin.
The film helped launch the legendary career of Capra, who would go on to win directing Oscars for 1936's "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and 1938's "You Can't Take It With You," and boosted the stock of Harry Cohn's Columbia Pictures, which before "It Happened One Night" was primarily known for low-budget "Poverty Row" pictures.
"Night" also ushered in the fast-paced, frenzied screwball-comedy genre which became enormously popular during the Great Depression
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is celebrating the 80th anniversary of "It Happened One Night" Saturday evening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The special screening will feature the world premiere of a new digital restoration of the classic comedy.
"This is a comedy that even though it's 80 years old still plays to modern audiences," said Randy Haberkamp, the academy's managing director of programming, education and preservation. "It's one of those films where you enjoy the two stars playing with each other and really believably falling in love."
The sparkling comedy finds Colbert playing the spoiled runaway heiress Ellie and Gable as a rapscallion newspaper reporter Peter, who find themselves traveling together on an interstate bus. Along the way, Peter shows Ellie the proper way out to dunk doughnuts, how he undresses for bed and even what he thinks is the surefire way to hitchhike by using his thumb. In one of the movie's signature scenes, Ellie shows him that a hitchhiker willing to show a bit of leg is much more effective.
There's also "The Walls of Jericho," which is how Peter describes the blanket hanging over a clothesline dividing their hotel room. The "Walls" eventually topple. And the film even caused the undergarment industry to worry that men would no longer buy undershirts because Gable didn't wear one in the movie.
Ironically, because Columbia wasn't in the same league with such studios as MGM and Paramount, casting had been difficult for the film. Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy, both at MGM, had turned it down. And Gable and Colbert weren't exactly thrilled with the prospect of making a lightweight comedy.
Hollywood lore has it that that MGM's Louis B. Mayer lent Gable to Columbia as punishment for the actor asking for a salary raise. But that really wasn't the case. Gable had a hole in his schedule, so Mayer allowed Cohn to use the rising star. Colbert, who was at Paramount, asked for a lot of money and got it from the usually penny-pinching Columbia.
The original nitrate negative of "It Happened One Night" was in poor condition because the release prints had been made from the element. But at least Sony still had the negative. Other Capra films haven't fared as well. The original negatives for Capra's 1937 classic "Lost Horizon" and 1938's "You Can't Take it With You" no longer exist, said Rita Belda, vice president, asset management and film restoration for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
For the digital restoration, a new film element was created from the original negative and that was scanned to use for this restoration. "
The new element was used for the majority of this restoration, but material from a nitrate print in their vaults was used for other frames that had were missing from the original negative. Dust, scratches and tears were removed digitally but without altering the film's original look.
susan.king@latimes.com
------------
'It Happened One Night'
Where: Academy@LACMA, Bing Theater
When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $3-$5
Info: http://www.lacma.org/series/academy-at-lacma

Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch, Farewell Elaine Stritch at 89

Elaine Stritch, Broadway’s Enduring Dame, Dies at 89

Elaine Stritch on Life, Sex and Death

Elaine Stritch built her Broadway career playing brash and bawdy characters.
Video Credit By Erik Olsen on Publish Date July 17, 2014. Image CreditFabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

Elaine Stritch, the 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, died on Thursday at her home in Birmingham, Mich. She was 89.
Her death was confirmed by a friend, Julie Keyes. Before Ms. Stritch moved to Birmingham last year to be near her family, she lived for many years at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.
Ms. Stritch’s career began in the 1940s and spanned almost 70 years. She made her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen’s “September” (1987) and “Small Time Crooks” (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she had a recurring role on the NBC comedy “30 Rock” as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin.
Slide Show|15 Photos

Elaine Stritch: 1925-2014

Elaine Stritch: 1925-2014

CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times
In April 2013, before she left the Carlyle, where she had often performed in its cabaret lounge, Café Carlyle, she gave one last show: “Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle: Movin’ Over and Out.” A documentary film, “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” was released this year.
Plain-spoken, egalitarian, impatient with fools and foolishness, and admittedly fond of cigarettes, alcohol and late nights — she finally gave up smoking and drinking in her 60s, after learning she had diabetes, though she returned to alcohol in her 80s — Ms. Stritch might be the only actor ever to work as a bartender after starring on Broadway, and she was completely unabashed about her good-time-girl attitude.
“I’m not a bit opposed to your mentioning in this article that Frieda Fun here has had a reputation in the theater, for the past five or six years, for drinking,” she said to a reporter for The New York Times in 1968. “I drink, and I love to drink, and it’s part of my life.”
In an interview this year in The New York Times Magazine, she said of her resumption of drinking: “I’m almost 89, I’m gonna have a drink a day or two. I know how to handle it, so there.”
Most of the time she was equally unabashed onstage, rarely if ever leaving the sensually astringent elements of her personality behind when she performed. A highlight of her early stage career was the 1952 revival of “Pal Joey,” the Rodgers and Hart-John O’Hara musical, in which she played a shrewd, ambitious reporter recalling, in song, an interview with Gypsy Rose Lee; she drew bravas for her rendition of the striptease parody “Zip.”
Photo
Ms. Stritch last September at the condo in Birmingham, Mich., that she moved into when she left New York. Credit Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
In a nonsinging role in William Inge’s 1955 drama, ”Bus Stop,” she received a Tony nomination as the lonely but tough-talking owner of a Kansas roadside diner where a group of travelers takes refuge during a snowstorm. Three years later, in her first starring role on Broadway, “Goldilocks,” a musical comedy by Jean and Walter Kerr and the composer Leroy Anderson, she played a silent film star alongside Don Ameche and impressed The Times’s critic Brooks Atkinson.
“Miss Stritch can destroy life throughout the country with the twist she gives to the dialogue,” he wrote. “She takes a wicked stance, purses her mouth thoughtfully and waits long enough to devastate the landscape.”
Noël Coward, one of Ms. Stritch’s fans, built the 1961 musical “Sail Away” around her role as Mimi Paragon, the effervescent hostess of a cruise ship, and she repaid his trust not only by giving what Howard Taubman of The Times said “must be the performance of her career” (including a delicious rendition of Coward’s hilariously snooty “Why Do the Wrong People Travel?”) but also by successfully ad-libbing, on opening night, when a poodle in the cast betrayed its training onstage.
The show was not a hit, but Ms. Stritch came away with her third Tony nomination. Her next Broadway role was in the replacement cast of Edward Albee’s scabrous portrait of a marriage, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” as Martha, the bitter, boozy wife.
One of her memorable appearances was in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company”(1970), in which, as a cynical society woman, she saluted her peers with the vodka-soaked anthem “The Ladies Who Lunch.” The performance brought her another Tony nomination, and the tune became her signature — at least until, in her 70s, she became known for Sondheim’s paean to showbiz longevity and survival, “I’m Still Here.”
Photo
Ms. Stritch in the musical revue “Angel in the Wings,” in 1948, in which she sang “Civilization.” Credit Associated Press
That song was the centerpiece of her 2001 one-woman show, “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” and she sang it in 2010 at Mr. Sondheim’s 80th-birthday concert at Lincoln Center and at the White House for President Obama.
Essentially a spoken-and-sung theater memoir, “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” created with the New Yorker critic John Lahr, began performances at the Public Theater in Manhattan when Ms. Stritch was 76 and then moved to Broadway, where it was a smash.
Alone onstage except for a chair, clad only in tights and a white silk shirt, Ms. Stritch wove together music (including “Zip,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “I’m Still Here” and two more Sondheim songs: “The Little Things You Do Together,” a mordant salute to marriage from “Company,” and the aging showgirl’s lament “Broadway Baby,” from “Follies”) and showbiz memories into a tour de force that won a Tony Award for best special theatrical event.
“I’m a do-it-yourself kind of broad,” Ms. Stritch told The Guardian in 2008, when she performed the show in London. It was an apt description of herself and the performance, which opened with her entering and declaring to the audience, “Well, as the prostitute once said, ‘It’s not the work, it’s the stairs.’ ”
Born in Detroit on Feb. 2, 1925, Ms. Stritch was the youngest of three daughters of George and Mildred Stritch. She went to a convent school but knew long before she graduated that she wanted a show business career.
Photo
Ms. Stritch backstage with Noël Coward in 1961 after the opening of his musical “Sail Away.” Credit John Lent/Associated Press
When she was 4, for example, her father, an executive at B. F. Goodrich, took her to see a touring production of “The Ziegfeld Follies.” They went backstage to meet the star, the comedian Bobby Clark, who was a friend of her father’s. “From that moment on,” she recalled, “I was hooked.”
She was popular and seemingly carefree at school but struggled, she said, to overcome a deep-seated lack of confidence. By high school she had discovered that liquor helped mask her fears.
After graduation she told her parents she wanted to go to New York to study acting. They said she could go only if she agreed to live in a Manhattan convent. In 1944, she took the train to New York, moved into her convent room on the East Side and enrolled at the New School for Social Research, where she studied acting with Erwin Piscator. According to a story she told in “At Liberty,” her classmate Marlon Brando stopped speaking to her after she declined his invitation to spend the night at his apartment.
(Ms. Stritch, a Roman Catholic who said she was a virgin until she was 30, was no prude. Before she married in 1972, she was romantically linked with the actors Gig Young and Ben Gazzara and the restaurateur Joe Allen.)
She made her New York stage debut in a children’s play, “Bobino.” In 1947, she opened on Broadway in a musical revue, “Angel in the Wings,” in which she sang “Civilization,” a satirical number expressing an African’s thoughts about frightful aspects of modern life, including the lament: “Bongo bongo bongo, I don’t want to leave the Congo.”
Photo
Ms. Stritch in 2010 in her role as the mother of Alec Baldwin’s character on “30 Rock.” Credit Ali Goldstein/NBC
In a short time she established herself as a promising actress who could also hurl a song lyric to the far reaches of the balcony. In 1950 she won the job of understudy to Ethel Merman in “Call Me Madam.” Merman stayed healthy, and Ms. Stritch never got to perform the role on Broadway, although she did star in the touring company. Then came “Pal Joey.”
She did some television work as well, live dramas as well as series like “My Sister Eileen” and “Wagon Train.” She almost landed the role of Trixie Norton on “The Honeymooners,” with Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Audrey Meadows, but the part finally went to Joyce Randolph. Gleason, she explained, thought she was too much like him.
Ms. Stritch made her London stage debut in “Sail Away” in 1962, and appeared there again in 1972 in “Company.” Remaining in London, she met the American actor John Bay during rehearsals for a production of Tennessee Williams’s “Small Craft Warnings” and married him. In Britain, she won a wide following in stagings of American plays and as co-star of the television comedy series “Two’s Company,” in which she played a prickly American writer working at an English estate.
Ms. Stritch and her husband moved back to the United States in 1982, and he shortly died of a brain tumor. They had no children. Ms. Stritch is to be buried near him in Chicago. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.
In the mid-1980s, Woody Allen, dissatisfied with his film “September,” decided to reshoot it. Ms. Stritch accepted the part originally played by Maureen O’Sullivan while recuperating from surgery to have polyps removed from her vocal cords. She played the hard-drinking survivor of a roller-coaster life, a former glamour girl whose daughter, played by Mia Farrow, is both angry and depressed. Her performance initiated a fecund period of movie work.
Photo
Ms. Stritch, tending bar in the summer of 1964 at Elaine’s (no relation), after she had become a Broadway star. Credit United Press International

Her other films included “Cocoon: The Return” (1988), which reunited her with Ameche; “Cadillac Man” (1990), with Robin Williams; “Autumn in New York” (2000), a May-December romance starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder; and “Monster-in-Law” (2005), in which, as Jane Fonda’s mother-in-law, she delivers a blistering put-down: “You were a television weather woman from Dubuque, Mont. You drove around in a broken-down minivan, and you drank red wine — from a box!”
She also made guest appearances on television, on “The Cosby Show,” “Head of the Class,” “Law & Order,” “Oz” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.” Back on Broadway, she joined Harold Prince’s 1994 revival of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical “Show Boat.” Ms. Stritch played Parthy, the nagging wife of the showboat’s Cap’n Andy.
She went on to earn another Tony nomination in the Lincoln Center Theater’s 1996 revival of “A Delicate Balance,” Edward Albee’s ferocious dark comedy about an upper-class household in distress. She played the witty, bellicose houseguest of her sister (Rosemary Harris) and brother-in-law (George Grizzard).
When “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” was broadcast on HBO in 2004, Ms. Stritch added an Emmy to her collection of awards, but that was far from her final triumph. She also created a series of solo cabaret shows for Café Carlyle, including one that was a tribute to Sondheim.
“The blazingly here-and-now Ms. Stritch gives the word ‘trouper,’ a term of respect for stars who have trod the boards for decades, an almost mythological dimension,” Stephen Holden of The Times wrote in a review.
In May 2008, in a surprising change of pace, she appeared in a production of “Endgame,” Samuel Beckett’s grim comedy about mortality, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As inhabitants of a bleak netherworld, she and her onstage husband (Alvin Epstein) lived in oversize garbage cans.
Ms. Stritch performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., in June 2009 in a production of “The Full Monty,” based on the 1997 British film comedy about a group of unemployed steelworkers who decide to perform as male strippers. Ms. Stritch, who played the group’s rehearsal pianist, said in an interview that she was “happy to be doing something that wasn’t all about me.”
She made her final Broadway appearance in 2010, replacing Angela Lansbury as the aging Madame Armfeldt in a Broadway revival of “A Little Night Music.” It was a role that allowed her to sing once more of Mr. Sondheim’s rueful, mortality-defying musical meditations, “Liaisons,” an aching paean to love affairs past, and she brought to it an original and rather stinging bitterness about a life that is nearly over.
In “At Liberty,” Ms. Stritch earned one of her biggest laughs with a story about a long night of drinking with a friend. The story was ostensibly about the friend — Judy Garland — but it was self-reflective, too. Along about breakfast time, Ms. Stritch recalled, Garland turned to her.
“Elaine, I never thought I’d say this,” Garland said, “but good night.”