Elaine Stritch, legendary Broadway star and gay icon, died today at age 89 at her home in Birmingham, Mich., where she had retired last year after being a long-term resident of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.
Stritch, a Tony- and Emmy-winner, was the hotel's most famous resident and a frequent performer at its Cafe Carlyle, where she gave a farewell show, Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle: Movin' Over and Out, a free-form evening of story and song, before moving back to her native Michigan.
Stritch had many LGBT admirers and always returned the love, and she had gay connections too numerous to list -- to name just a few, she's one of the greatest interpreters of the work of Noel Coward, who built the musical Sail Away around her character, and Stephen Sondheim, who gave her the song that became her signature, "The Ladies Who Lunch," in Company. In addition to her stage work, she had a significant TV and movie career. On TV, she famously played Alec Baldwin's domineering mother in 30 Rock, and her films included A Farewell to Arms, starring Rock Hudson, whom she even dated.
We've compiled video of some highlights of Stritch's storied career. Everybody rise!
"The Ladies Who Lunch": Stritch's signature song from the Broadway musical Company by Stephen Sondheim
Elaine Stritch performs "Broadway Baby" (by Stephen Sondheim, from the musical Follies) at In Performance at the White House: A Broadway Celebration, an event held in the East Room to honor the arts and celebrate the importance of arts education, July 19, 2010.
Stritch performs "I'm Still Here" (by Stephen Sondheim, from the musical Follies) at In Performance at the White House: A Broadway Celebration.
Elaine Stritch in her one-woman show At Liberty, on choosing Rock Hudson over Ben Gazzara
The Noel Coward Trilogy: Sail Away, starring Elaine Stritch