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Irene Dailey

( b. Sep 12, 1920 New York, New York, USA - d. Sep 24, 2008 Santa Rosa, California, USA ) Female

Irene Dailey was a late-blooming actress perhaps best known for her roles in television soap operas and for her portrayal of the quick-witted, sensitive mother, Nettie Cleary, in the 1964 Tony Award-winning drama The Subject Was Roses.

From 1974 to 1986, and then again from 1988 to 1994, Miss Dailey played Liz Matthews in "Another World" -- an upper-class-bred matriarch of a middle-class family dealing with the convolutions of life in the fictional town of Bay City. For that role, Miss Dailey won a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding actress in 1979.

For a year, in 1969, Miss Dailey played a role in the crime-mystery soap opera "The Edge of Night." Her many other television credits included appearances on shows like "Ben Casey," "Dr. Kildare," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Defenders." Miss Dailey's film credits include roles in "No Way to Treat a Lady," "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Amityville Horror."

It was only after appearing in a long series of Broadway flops that, in 1964, Miss Dailey received critical acclaim in the United States. It was for her portrayal of the mother in Frank D. Gilroy's three-character drama, The Subject Was Roses. The play dealt with an incompatible couple's love for their 21-year-old son (with Jack Albertson as the father and Martin Sheen as the son) after the son returns after three years in the Army.

"Miss Dailey's Nettie is a luminous creation," Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times. "She can suggest hurt and desiccation with a stricken glance. Wearing a plain hat and coat and holding her purse, she can turn to walk out of her apartment so that her back conveys her utter defeat and despair."

Miss Dailey was born in New York City, the daughter of Daniel and Helen Ryan Dailey. Her father was the manager of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. Her brother Dan Dailey gained fame as a song-and-dance man and Hollywood actor.

At 8, Irene Dailey was dancing in vaudeville, and at 18 she was working in summer stock. With consistent bad luck, she kept winning parts in what she once said were 13 of Broadway's worst shows. Miss Lonelyhearts, for example, had a nine-day run.

Miss Dailey ran a lampshade store and worked as a waitress while making the Broadway rounds. Then, in 1960, she tried her luck in London. She was the 47th actress to try out for the lead in Tomorrow -- With Pictures, about an American woman trying to take over a British newspaper empire. She got the part and drew rave reviews.

"Every plummy-voiced English rose of an imitation actress should be dragged to see Miss Dailey," The Daily Express critic wrote. "She sweats love, breathes hate, weeps desire."

Source: NY Times Obit

ProductionsDate of Productions
The Father
[Play, Drama, Revival]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Old Margaret]
Jan 11, 1996 - Feb 18, 1996
Lost in Yonkers
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Standby: Irene Dailey [Grandma Kurnitz]
Feb 21, 1991 - Jan 03, 1993
You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running
The Footsteps of Doves
[Play, One Act, Original]
  • Starring: Irene Dailey
        Harriet - Replacement
I'll Be Home For Christmas
[Play, One Act, Original]
  • Starring: Irene Dailey
        Edith - Replacement
I'm Herbert
[Play, One Act, Original]
  • Starring: Irene Dailey
        Muriel - Replacement
Mar 13, 1967 - Jan 04, 1969
The Subject Was Roses
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Starring: Irene Dailey [Nettie Cleary]
May 25, 1964 - May 21, 1966
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [The Senora]
Feb 09, 1963 - Feb 16, 1963
Miss Lonelyhearts
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Adele Farnum]
Oct 03, 1957 - Oct 12, 1957
The Good Woman of Setzuan
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Mrs. Shin]
Dec 18, 1956 - Jan 06, 1957
Idiot's Delight
[Play, Comedy, Revival]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Shirley]
May 23, 1951 - Closing date unknown
Springtime Folly
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Miss Pomeroy]
Feb 26, 1951 - Feb 27, 1951
Truckline Cafe
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Angie]
Feb 27, 1946 - Mar 09, 1946
Nine Girls
[Play, Melodrama, Original]
  • Performer: Irene Dailey [Stella]
Jan 13, 1943 - Jan 16, 1943
1966 Drama Desk Award Vernon Rice-Drama Desk Award
winner Irene Dailey (for her performance in "Rooms") [winner]
Find out where Irene Dailey and are credited together