( b. Dec 02, 1925 Grosse Point Park, Michigan, USA - d. Aug 24, 2013 Chatham, Massachusetts, USA ) Female
Julie Harris was the unprepossessing anti-diva who, in the guises of Joan of Arc, Mary Todd Lincoln, Emily Dickinson and many other characters both fictional and real, became the most decorated performer in the history of Broadway.
Sometimes called the first lady of the American theater, she made her first Broadway appearance while she was still in college, and over the next half century-plus earned 10 Tony nominations, more than any other performer. The last was in 1997 for a revival of The Gin Game, D. L. Coburn's mordant comedy about the contentious friendship between two isolated denizens of an old age home that emerges over a card table.
She didn't win, though she'd been there and done that five times, the first performer to be so honored so often. Angela Lansbury and Audra McDonald have since matched this total, but in 2002, Ms. Harris won for the sixth time, a special Tony for lifetime achievement, putting her in a class by herself.
She got her first Broadway role in a short-lived comedy It's a Gift. But Ms. Harris made herself known in 1950 as a 24-year-old playing a 12-year-old, Frankie Addams, in Carson McCullers's adaptation of her own novel The Member of the Wedding.
She reprised the role of Frankie in the 1952 film before returning to Broadway that year in a role that couldn't be more different, in I Am a Camera, as the first Broadway incarnation of Isherwood's bawdy, bohemian nightclub singer Sally Bowles. She won exultant reviews, and for her performance, she won her first Tony, and once again she recreated the role in the movies.
Over the next 25 years, Ms. Harris essayed a remarkable variety of roles onstage. In the 1950s, she appeared in Jean Anouilh's Mademoiselle Colombe. She played a lusty young adulteress in the Restoration comedy The Country Wife, followed by a small-town Minnesota girl in The Warm Peninsula.
On television, she gave an Emmy-winning performance in James Costigan's "Little Moon of Alban," and then played the role again on Broadway in 1960 when Costigan adapted his work for the stage.
Later in the 1960s, she played a loose woman who is also a murder suspect in a stylized French farce, A Shot in the Dark. She also starred in her first musical, Skyscraper, and she opened in the comedy Forty Carats, a show that turned out to be her biggest hit, running for nearly two years (though not the whole time with Ms. Harris in it), and winning her a third Tony.
In 1955, she won her second Tony in The Lark, an adaptation by Lillian Hellman of Anouilh's retelling of the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. In December 1972, she opened in The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, in which she played Mary Todd Lincoln at the end of her life, and won the Tony for best actress in spite of the play's having been critically excoriated and closing after only six weeks.
Most famously, Ms. Harris portrayed the poet Emily Dickinson at home as a fiercely observant, proudly literary and deeply self-conscious near-agoraphobe in The Belle of Amherst, a one-woman show written by William Luce that appeared on Broadway in 1976 and was filmed for public television. The Belle of Amherst was widely admired as a tour de force by Ms. Harris.
Her film credits include "East of Eden"; "Requiem for a Heavyweight"; "The Haunting"; "Harper"; "Reflections in a Golden Eye"; "The Bell Jar"; "Gorillas in the Mist" and "HouseSitter." On TV, she appeared in "Knots Landing," "Family Ties," "The Love Boat," "Columbo," "The Name of the Game," "Tarzan" and "Medical Center."
But it was clear that the stage was where she was most at home. Unusual among performers of her stature, she was not averse to taking shows on the road, and she toured in, among other plays, The Belle of Amherst, Lettice and Lovage, Driving Miss Daisy and The Gin Game.
Source: The New York Times obituary
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