Frances Sternhagen

Last updated

Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen 1962.jpg
Sternhagen in 1962
Born (1930-01-13) January 13, 1930 (age 90)
OccupationActress
Years active1951–present
Spouse(s)Thomas Carlin (1956–1991; his death; 6 children)

Frances Hussey Sternhagen (born January 13, 1930) is an American actress; she has appeared on- and off-Broadway, in movies, and on TV since the 1950s. [1]

Contents

Early life and education

Sternhagen was born in Washington, DC, the daughter of John M. Sternhagen, a U.S. Tax Court judge, and Gertrude (née Hussey). [2] Sternhagen was educated at the Madeira and Potomac schools in McLean, Virginia. At Vassar College, she was elected head of the Drama Club "after silencing a giggling college crowd at a campus dining hall with her interpretation of a scene from Richard II, playing none other than Richard himself". She also studied at the Perry Mansfield School of the Theatre, and New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse. [1]

Stage career

Sternhagen started her career teaching acting, singing, and dancing to school children at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, and she first performed in 1948 at a Bryn Mawr summer theater in The Glass Menagerie and Angel Street . [1] She went on to work at Washington's Arena Stage from 1953–54, then made her Broadway debut in 1955 as Miss T. Muse in The Skin of Our Teeth . [3] The same year, she had her off-Broadway debut in Thieves' Carnival" and her TV debut in "The Great Bank Robbery" on "Omnibus" (CBS). By the following year, she had won an off-Broadway Obie Award for "Distinguished Performance (Actress)" in The Admirable Bashville (1955–56). [4]

She has won two Tony Awards, for Best Supporting Actress (Dramatic): in 1974 for the original Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Good Doctor [5] (which also won her a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play);[ citation needed ] and in 1995 for the revival of The Heiress . She has been nominated for Tony Awards five other times, including for her roles in the original Broadway casts of Equus (1975) and On Golden Pond (1979), as well as for Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (1972), the musical Angel (1978), which was based on Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel , and the 2002 revival of Paul Osborn's Morning's at Seven . [5]

She portrayed the title character in 1988's Pulitzer prize-winning drama Driving Miss Daisy , which was originated by Dana Ivey at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Sternhagen took over the role after the show moved to the John Houseman Theatre and played it for more than two years.Her off-Broadway awards include two nominations for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play in 1998, for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night at the Irish Repertory Theatre [6] and in 2005, for the World War I drama Echoes of the War. [1] She also won Distinguished Performance Obie Awards for The Room and A Slight Ache (1964–65). In 1998, she won the Dramatists Guild Fund's Madge Evans & Sidney Kingsley Award for Excellence in Theater.

Sternhagen appeared as the Daughter in the original Broadway production of Edward Albee's All Over in 1971 with Colleen Dewhurst and Jessica Tandy. In the summer of 2005, she starred in the Broadway production of Steel Magnolias along with Marsha Mason, Delta Burke, Christine Ebersole, Lily Rabe, and Rebecca Gayheart. She also starred in the 2005 revival of Edward Albee's Seascape , produced by Lincoln Center Theater at the Booth Theater on Broadway.

In 2013, Sternhagen also won the Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. [7] Sternhagen is a member of the New Rochelle Walk of Fame.

Film roles

Sternhagen made her film debut in 1967's New York City high-school drama Up the Down Staircase , which starred Sandy Dennis. [8] She has worked periodically in Hollywood since then. She had character roles in the 1971 Paddy Chayefsky's The Hospital , in Two People (1973), and Billy Wilder's Fedora (1978). She appeared in Starting Over (1979), which starred Burt Reynolds; with Sean Connery in Outland (1981); and with Michael J. Fox in Bright Lights, Big City (1988). She played Farrah Fawcett's mother in See You in the Morning (1989), Richard Farnsworth's wife in Misery (1990), Lillian in Doc Hollywood (1991) and John Lithgow's psychiatrist in Raising Cain (1992). Sternhagen starred in Frank Darabont's 2007 science-fiction horror film The Mist . She also appeared in the family film Dolphin Tale (2011) and And So It Goes (2014).

Television roles

She may be best known to TV audiences as Esther Clavin, mother of John Ratzenberger's Boston postman character Cliff Clavin, on the long-running series Cheers , for which she received two Emmy Award nominations. She also played Millicent Carter on ER , Bunny MacDougal, mother of Trey, Charlotte's first husband on Sex and the City (another Emmy Award nomination) and in Law & Order , among other network dramas and sitcoms, and worked for many years in soap operas such as Another World , The Secret Storm , and Love of Life . She played two roles on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live . She recorded a voiceover for a May 2002 episode of The Simpsons ("The Frying Game").

In summer 2006, she finished her 24th Broadway role, then appeared on TV's The Closer , playing Willie Rae Johnson, the mother of Brenda Leigh Johnson, the lead character. [9] Sternhagen appeared in 12 episodes of the program. She is also recognized as Mrs. Marsh from a series of television commercials for Colgate toothpaste that aired in the 1970s.[ citation needed ]

Voice acting

She read as the title character in the Stephen King novel Dolores Claiborne in a 1995 audiobook recording. She also voiced characters in 13 episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the 1970s and 1980s.

Filmography

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
1967 Up the Down Staircase Charlotte Wolf
1967 The Tiger Makes Out Lady on Bus
1971 The Hospital Mrs. Cushing
1973Two PeopleMrs. McCluskey
1978 Fedora Miss Balfour
1979 Starting Over Marva Potter
1981 Outland Dr. Marian Lazarus Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1983 Independence Day Carla Taylor
1983 Romantic Comedy Blanche Dailey
1986 Resting Place Eudora McCallister
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Clara Tillinghast
1989 Communion Dr. Janet Duffy
1989 See You in the Morning Neenie
1990 Sibling Rivalry Rose Turner
1990 Misery VirginiaNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1991 Doc Hollywood Lillian
1991Walking the DogAntique DealerShort film
1992 Raising Cain Dr. Lynn WaldheimNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1998It All Came TrueAmy
2000Midnight GospelRuthShort film
2001LandfallEmily Thornton
2001 The Rising Place Ruth Wilder
2002 Highway Mrs. Murray
2007 The Mist Irene Reppler
2009 Julie & Julia Irma Rombauer
2011 Dolphin Tale Gloria Forrest
2014 And So It Goes Claire
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1956 Westinghouse Studio One BettyEpisode: "The Arena"
1957 Westinghouse Studio One MaryEpisode: "My Mother and How She Undid Me"
1957 Goodyear Television Playhouse Elizabeth BarnesEpisode: "The House"
1959 Play of the Week EvaEpisode: "Thieves Carnival"
1961 Play of the Week Episode: "In a Garden"
1962The Broadway of Lerner and LoeweTheatre-GoerTV movie
1962 The Nurses Mrs. HarrisEpisode: "The Lady Made of Stone"
1964 The Defenders Louise KileyEpisode: "May Day! May Day!"
1964Profiles in CourageMiss KoellerEpisode: "Mary S. McDowell"
1967 NET Playhouse Episode: "Infancy and Childhood"
1967 Hallmark Hall of Fame AbigailEpisode: "Soldier in Love"
1967–1968 Love of Life Toni Prentiss DavisTV series
1970 The Doctors Phyllis CorriganTV series
1971 NET Playhouse Segment: "Foul!"
1971 Another World Jane OverstreetTV series
1972 Great Performances Wilma AtkinsEpisode: "The Rimers of Eldritch"
1974 The Secret Storm Jessie ReddinTV series
1974 Great Performances PaulinaEpisode: "Enemies"
1977 The Andros Targets Mrs. MasonEpisode: "In the Event of My Death"
1978Who'll Save Our Children?Nellie HendersonTV movie
1980Mother and Daughter: The Loving WarMrs. LloydTV movie
1980 The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg Mary RichardsTV short
1983 Prototype Dorothy ForresterTV movie
1984 The Dining Room VariousTV movie
1985 Spencer Millie Sprague7 episodes
1986–1993 Cheers Esther Clavin7 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
1987At Mother's RequestBerenice BradshawTV movie
1987Once AgainTV movie
1990Follow Your HeartCloe SixburyTV movie
1991 American Experience (voice)Episode: "Coney Island"
1991 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd DoraEpisode: "Here's a High Dive Into a Shallow Pool"
1991 Golden Years Gina Williams7 episodes
1991 Law & Order Margaret LangdonEpisode: "The Serpent's Tooth"
1992She Woke UpNoelleTV movie
1992 Tales from the Crypt Effie GluckmanEpisode: "None But the Lonely Heart"
1993Labor of Love: The Arlette Schweitzer StoryMary RaffertyTV movie
1994Vault of Horror ITV movie
1994 The Road Home Charlotte Babineaux6 episodes
1994ReunionTobie YatesTV movie
1995 The Outer Limits Jean AndersonEpisode: "The Choice"
1997 Law & Order Estelle MullerEpisode: "Legacy"
1997–2003 ER Millicent Carter19 episodes
1998 The Con HadabelleTV movie
1998To Live AgainConstance HolmesTV movie
2000–2002 Sex and the City Bunny MacDougal10 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2002 The Laramie Project Marge MurrayTV movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2002 The Simpsons Mrs. Bellamy (voice)Episode: "The Frying Game"
2004 Becker NaomiEpisode: "Subway Story"
2006–2012 The Closer Willie Ray Johnson15 episodes
2012 Parenthood Blanche BravermanEpisode: "Road Trip"
Theatre
YearTitleRole
1955 The Skin of Our Teeth Miss T. Muse
1955The Carefree TreeWidow Yang
1960Viva Madison Avenue!Dee Jones
1962Great Day in the MorningAlice McAnany
1965–1966The Right Honourable GentlemanMrs. Ashton Dilke
1967 A Doll's House Nora
1967–1969 You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running Harriet / Edith / Muriel (standby)
1968–1969 The Cocktail Party Lavinia Chamberlayne
1969Cock-A-Doodle DandyLoreleen
1970Blood Red RosesVarious (standby)
1971 The Playboy of the Western World Widow Quin
1971 All Over The Daughter, The Mistress (standby)
1971 Mary Stuart Mary Stuart, Queen Elizabeth (understudy)
1972The Sign in Sidney Brustein's WindowMavis Parodus Bryson
1972EnemiesPaulina
1973–1974 The Good Doctor Performer
1974–1977 Equus Dora Strang
1978 Angel Eliza Gant
1979–1980 On Golden Pond Ethel Thayer
1981 The Father Laura
1981–1982Grown UpsHelen
1983–1984 You Can't Take It with You
1985Home FrontMaurine
1995The HeiressLavinia Penniman
1999The Exact Center of the Universe
2002 Morning's at Seven Ida Bolton
2005 Steel Magnolias Clairee
2005–2006 Seascape Nancy
2013The MadridRose

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Joy, Cara."Frances Sternhagen in Talks to Join Company of Broadway Magnolias" Broadway.com, November 22, 2004
  2. "Frances Sternhagen Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  3. "Frances Sternhagen". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  4. "1950s". Obie Awards. Village Voice and American Theatre Wing. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  5. 1 2 "("Frances Sternhagen" search results)". Tony Awards. Tony Award Productions. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  6. Lefkowitz, David."Brian Murray & Frances Sternhagen Take Irish Journey, Mar. 22" [which starred her eldest son Paul Carlin as her son Jamie] Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, March 22, 1998
  7. "2013 Obie Awards". Obie Awards. Village Voice and American Theatre Wing. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  8. "Frances Sternhagen Credits" hollywood.com, accessed August 27, 2011
  9. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 195. ISBN   978-0-7864-6477-7.