Tammy Grimes

Last updated
Tammy Grimes
Tammy Grimes 1966.jpg
Tammy Grimes in 1966
Born
Tammy Lee Grimes

(1934-01-30)January 30, 1934
DiedOctober 30, 2016(2016-10-30) (aged 82)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1952–2016
Spouse(s)
(m. 1956;div. 1960)

(m. 1966;div. 1967)

Richard Bell
(m. 1968;died 2005)
Children Amanda Plummer

Tammy Lee Grimes (January 30, 1934 – October 30, 2016) was an American actress and singer.

Contents

She won two Tony Awards in her career, the first for originating the role of Molly Tobin in the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the second for starring in a 1970 revival of Private Lives as Amanda Prynne. A former husband, Christopher Plummer, and their daughter, actress Amanda Plummer, are also Tony Award winners.

She originated the role of Diana in the Broadway production of California Suite . The role of Diana was played in the film by Maggie Smith, who won an Oscar for her performance. Grimes played the role of Elmire in the 1978 Broadway and television production of Tartuffe . She originated roles in several works by Noël Coward, including Elvira in High Spirits and Lulu in Look After Lulu! In 1966, she starred in her own television series, The Tammy Grimes Show . Grimes was also known for her cabaret acts. In 2003, she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Early life

Grimes was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the daughter of Eola Willard (née Niles), a naturalist and spiritualist, and Luther Nichols Grimes, an innkeeper, country-club manager, and farmer. [1] [2]

She attended high school at the then all-girls school, Beaver Country Day School, and Stephens College, and then studied acting at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse. [3] She studied singing with Beverley Peck Johnson. [4]

Career

Known for a speaking voice compared to a buzz saw, [5] she made her debut on the New York stage at the Neighborhood Playhouse in May 1955 in Jonah and the Whale.

She made her Broadway stage debut as an understudy for Kim Stanley in the starring role in Bus Stop in June 1955. [3] [6] In 1956, she appeared in the off-Broadway production, The Littlest Revue, and had the lead role in 1959 in the Broadway production of Noël Coward's play, Look After Lulu! , after she was discovered in a nightclub by the playwright. [7]

She starred in the 1960 musical comedy The Unsinkable Molly Brown for which she won a Tony Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical, even though it was the lead role) for what The New York Times called her "buoyant" performance as a rough-hewn Colorado social climber. She portrayed the title character, a Western mining millionairess who survived the sinking of the Titanic. In 1964, she appeared in the episode "The He-She Chemistry" of Craig Stevens's CBS drama Mr. Broadway . She made two appearances on the early '60s TV series Route 66 . [8]

On May 16, 1960, Grimes acted and sang as Mehitabel in an abridged version of the musical Archy and Mehitabel as part of the syndicated TV anthology series Play of the Week presented by David Susskind, and co-written by Mel Brooks and Joe Darion. The cast included Eddie Bracken (who reprised the role in the 1970 animated feature version Shinbone Alley with Carol Channing in the Mehitabel role) and Jules Munshin. Grimes was originally chosen to play the part given to Elizabeth Montgomery in the hit television situation comedy Bewitched , but she turned down the offer, preferring to star in The Tammy Grimes Show. [9] [10] She appeared in the television drama Route 66 on December 13, 1963, in an episode titled "Come Home Greta Inger Gruenschaffen".

In 1966, Grimes starred in her own ABC television series, The Tammy Grimes Show , in which she played a modern-day heiress who loved to spend money. Receiving unfavorable critical reaction and poor ratings, it ran for only a month, although an additional six episodes had already been made. [11]

Returning to the Broadway stage in 1969 after almost a decade of performing in what The New York Times called "dubious delights", Grimes appeared in a revival of Noël Coward's Private Lives as Amanda, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress. Clive Barnes in a New York Times review called her performance "outrageously appealing. She plays every cheap trick in the histrionic book with supreme aplomb and adorable confidence. Her voice moans, purrs, splutters; she gesticulates with her eyes, almost shouts with her hair. She is all campy, impossible woman, a lovable phony with the hint of tigress about her, so ridiculously artificial that she just has to be for real." [12]

She was a member of the Stratford Festival of Canada acting company in 1956, and returned again in 1982 to appear as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit . [13] In addition to appearing in a number of television series and motion pictures, Grimes also entertained at various New York City night clubs and recorded several albums of songs. She recited poetry as part of a 1968 solo act in the Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel. Her voice can be heard in romantic duets on some of Ben Bagley's anthology albums of Broadway songs under his Painted Smiles record label. In 1982, she hosted the final season of CBS Radio Mystery Theater replacing E.G. Marshall who had hosted the show since it began in 1974. In 1983, Grimes was dismissed from her co-starring role in the Neil Simon play Actors and Actresses, reportedly due to an inability to learn her lines. [14]

In 1974, Grimes provided the voice for Albert, the cerebral-minded mouse that does not believe in Santa Claus, in the animated Rankin-Bass annual television Christmas special, Twas the Night Before Christmas ; she later worked with Rankin/Bass again for 1982's The Last Unicorn . In 1980, she starred in the original Broadway production of the musical 42nd Street . In 2003, Grimes was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. [15] She also appeared in the rotating cast of the off-Broadway staged reading of Wit & Wisdom . [16]

In December 2003, Grimes was invited by the Noël Coward Society to be the first celebrity to lay flowers on the statue of Sir Noël Coward at the Gershwin Theatre in Manhattan to celebrate the 104th birthday of "The Master". In 2004, she joined the company of Tasting Memories, a "compilation of delicious reveries in poetry, song, and prose", with a starry rotating cast including Kitty Carlisle Hart, Rosemary Harris, Philip Bosco, Joy Franz, and Kathleen Noone. [17]

In 2005, Grimes worked with director Brandon Jameson to voice UNICEF's multiple award-winning tribute to Sesame Workshop. Two years later, she returned to the cabaret stage in a critically acclaimed one-woman show. [18] Around this time, she was voted as vice president of the Noël Coward Society. [19]

Personal life

Grimes married Christopher Plummer on August 16, 1956, [20] [21] with whom she had a daughter, actress Amanda Plummer. They divorced in 1960.

Her second husband was actor Jeremy Slate, whom she married in 1966 and divorced a year later. Her third husband was composer Richard Bell, whom she married in 1971; the couple remained wed until Bell's death in 2005. [22]

In 1965, Grimes made headlines after she had been beaten and injured twice in four days in New York City, by what were described as "white racists". According to a report, she believed the attacks were related to her association with several black entertainers and recent appearances in public with Sammy Davis Jr., who was said to be staging a nightclub act for her. [23]

Death

Grimes died on October 30, 2016, in Englewood, New Jersey, aged 82 from natural causes. Her survivors include her brother Nick and her daughter Amanda. [24]

Awards

Discography

Grimes released three known one-off singles during the 1960s, none of which charted:

Her debut solo album, Julius Monk presents Tammy Grimes (1959), featured the music from her one-woman show at the NYC nightclub Downstairs at the Upstairs. The album was re-released on the AEI label in 1982. She recorded two albums for Columbia Records, Tammy Grimes (CS-8589 stereo/CL 1789 mono) in 1962, and The Unmistakable Tammy Grimes (CS 8784 stereo/CL 1984 mono) in 1963. In 2004, the Collectables CD label licensed both LPs from Sony Music and released the combination as The Unmistakable Tammy Grimes (Collectables CD 7649).

She is featured on the following original cast recordings: The Littlest Revue, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, High Spirits, 42nd Street, and Sunset, as well as a TV cast album of the televised version of George M. Cohan's 45 Minutes from Broadway. All have been released on CD, although High Spirits in now out of print.[ citation needed ]

Grimes did the introductory narration for the American rebroadcast of the BBC's 1981 radio production of The Lord of the Rings . She recorded an album of children's stories, read out loud, called Hooray for Captain Jane in the early 1970s.[ citation needed ]

Work

Related Research Articles

Debbie Reynolds American actress, singer and dancer

Mary Frances Reynolds, known professionally as Debbie Reynolds, was an American actress, singer, and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, and her breakout role was her first leading role, as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Her other successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy, The Catered Affair, and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her performance of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the Billboard music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, titled Debbie.

<i>The Unsinkable Molly Brown</i> (film) 1964 film directed by Charles Walters

The Unsinkable Molly Brown is a 1964 American musical Metrocolor film directed by Charles Walters and starring Debbie Reynolds, filmed in Panavision. The screenplay by Helen Deutsch is based on the book of the 1960 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown by Richard Morris. The song score was composed by Meredith Willson. The plot is a fictionalized account of the life of Margaret Brown, who survived the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. Debbie Reynolds was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Brown.

Dorothy Loudon American actress, singer, performer

Dorothy Loudon was an American actress and singer. She won the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical in 1977 for her performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Loudon was also nominated for Tony Awards for her lead performances in the musicals The Fig Leaves Are Falling and Ballroom, as well as a Golden Globe award for her appearances on The Garry Moore Show.

<i>Private Lives</i> Play by Noël Coward

Private Lives is a 1930 comedy of manners in three acts by Noël Coward. It concerns a divorced couple who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. Despite a perpetually stormy relationship, they realise that they still have feelings for each other. Its second act love scene was nearly censored in Britain as too risqué. Coward wrote one of his most popular songs, "Some Day I'll Find You", for the play.

<i>Blithe Spirit</i> (play)

Blithe Spirit is a comic play by Noël Coward. The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles's marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.

Amanda Plummer American-Canadian actress

Amanda Michael Plummer is an American-Canadian actress. She is known for her work on stage and for her roles in such films as Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). Plummer won a Tony Award in 1982 for her performance in Agnes of God.

Hermione Baddeley English character actress of theatre, film and television

Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was an English actress of theatre, film and television. She typically played brash, vulgar characters, often referred to as "brassy" or "blowsy". She found her milieu in revue, in which she played from the 1930s to the 1950s, co-starring several times with Hermione Gingold.

<i>High Spirits</i> (musical)

High Spirits is a musical with a book, lyrics, and music by Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray, based on the play Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward, about a man's problems caused by the spirit of his dead wife.

Christine Ebersole American actress

Christine Ebersole is an American actress and singer. She has appeared in film, television, and on stage. She starred in the Broadway musicals 42nd Street and Grey Gardens, winning two Tony Awards. She has co-starred on the TBS sitcom Sullivan & Son, in which she played Carol Walsh, and earned an Emmy Award nomination for her work in One Life to Live.

Kate Burton (actress) Welsh-American actress

Katherine Burton is a Swiss-born American actress, daughter of actor Richard Burton and Sybil Burton. On television, Burton received critical acclaim as Ellis Grey in Shonda Rhimes drama series Grey's Anatomy, and as Vice President Sally Langston on Scandal. She has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and three Tony Awards.

Tammy Blanchard is an American actress. She rose to prominence for her role as teenage Judy Garland in the critically acclaimed television film Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001), for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination and a Primetime Emmy Award. Her other notable film roles were in The Good Shepherd (2006), Sybil (2007), Into the Woods (2014) and The Invitation (2015).

Dana Ivey

Dana Robins Ivey is an American actress. She is a five-time Tony Award nominee for her work on Broadway, and won the 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her work in both Sex and Longing and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her film appearances include The Color Purple (1985), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), The Addams Family (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Rush Hour 3 (2007), and The Help (2011).

<i>Shinbone Alley</i>

Shinbone Alley is a musical with a book by Joe Darion and Mel Brooks, lyrics by Darion, and music by George Kleinsinger. Based on archy and mehitabel, a series of New York Tribune columns by Don Marquis, it focuses on poetic cockroach archy, alley cat mehitabel, and her relationships with theatrical cat tyrone t. tattersal and tomcat big bill, under the watchful eye of the newspaperman, the voice-over narrator and only human being in the show.

Grover Dale

Grover Dale is an American actor, dancer, choreographer, theater director, and publisher.

<i>The Unsinkable Molly Brown</i> (musical)

The Unsinkable Molly Brown is a 1960 musical with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and book by Richard Morris. The plot is a fictionalized account of the life of Margaret Brown, who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic, and her wealthy miner-husband. A musical film version also titled The Unsinkable Molly Brown, with screenplay by Helen Deutsch, was released in 1964.

<i>Look After Lulu!</i>

Look After Lulu! is a farce by Noël Coward, based on Occupe-toi d'Amélie! by Georges Feydeau. It is set in Paris in 1908. The central character is an attractive cocotte, Lulu, whose lover is called away on military service; the plot involves libidinous foreign royalty, a mock wedding that turns out to be real, people hiding under beds and in bathrooms, and a happy ending.

Louise Troy was an American actress of stage and screen. She is best known for her performances in Tovarich (1963) and Walking Happy (1966), for both of which roles she was nominated for Tony Awards. Her signature stage role was that of the lead in High Spirits (1964).

Crista Moore is an American actress, singer, and dancer known for her work on the Broadway stage. She has been nominated for two Tony Awards, and received a Theatre World Award for Exceptional Broadway Debut in the title role of "Gypsy".

Bette Joan Henritze was an American actress of stage, film, and television.

Beth Malone

Elizabeth Ann "Beth" Malone is an American actress and singer known for her work in Broadway, off-Broadway and regional theatre. She originated the role of Alison Bechdel in the musical Fun Home, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

References

  1. "Tammy Grimes profile". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  2. Current Biography Yearbook . H W Wilson. 1963. Tammy Lee Grimes was born in Lynn, Massachusetts.
  3. 1 2 "Tammy Grimes biography", AllMusic, accessed January 9, 2009.
  4. Tommasini, Anthony (January 22, 2001). "Beverley Peck Johnson, 96, Voice Teacher". The New York Times .
  5. Profile, Oxfordreference.com; accessed November 6, 2016.
  6. Calta, Louis, "Kim Stanley Misses Show", The New York Times, June 25, 1955, pg. 8
  7. "Tammy Grimes in British-Flavored Solo", The New York Times, May 30, 1988.
  8. Ventura, Michael (June 1, 2012). "Letters at 3AM: 'Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma?'". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  9. Javna, John (1988). The Best of TV Sitcoms: The Critics' Choice: Burns and Allen to the Cosby Show, the Munsters to Mary Tyler Moore. Harmony Books. p. 80. ISBN   978-0-517-56922-1. Lucky break The original star of "Bewitched" was to be Tammy Grimes, an English stage actress who'd just signed a deal with ScreenGems TV. But she didn't like the script. She turned it down in favor of a concept that became The Tammy Grimes Show
  10. Pilato, Herbie J. (July 20, 2016). Dashing, Daring, and Debonair: TV's Top Male Icons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 82. ISBN   978-1-63076-053-3.
  11. "A.B.C.-TV Ax Falls On 'Tammy Grimes'", The New York Times, September 28, 1966.
  12. Barnes, Clive. "Theater: Tammy Grimes Cavorts in 'Private Lives'", The New York Times, December 5, 1969, p. 52
  13. "Tammy Grimes acting credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  14. "Tammy Grimes Dismissed From Play", The New York Times, February 12, 1983.
  15. Gans, Andrew (October 22, 2002). "32nd Annual Theatre Hall of Fame Inductees Announced". Playbill . Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.
  16. Profile, Theatermania.com; accessed November 6, 2016.
  17. Simonson, Robert and Jones, Kenneth. "Tasting Memories Brings Hart, Harris, Bosco and Grimes to Off-Broadway, May 19" Archived 2005-05-06 at the Wayback Machine , Playbill, May 19, 2004.
  18. Dale, Michael."Tammy Grimes @ The Metropolitan Room: Love Her While You May", broadwayworld.com, April 8, 2007.
  19. "Tony-Winner Tammy Grimes, Mother Of Amanda Plummer Dead At 82". KCAL News . October 31, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  20. Rainho, Manny (August 2015). "This Month in Movie History". Classic Images (482): 24–26.
  21. "Christopher Plummer Weds", The New York Times, August 24, 1956, p.15
  22. Hertz, Leba. "Tammy Grimes stars in one-woman show at the Plush Room", San Francisco Chronicle , October 28, 2007.
  23. Egelhof, Joseph. "Actress Links Two Attacks to Negro Foes", Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1965
  24. Gates, Anita. "Tammy Grimes, the Original 'Unsinkable Molly Brown', Dies at 82", The New York Times, October 31, 2016.
  25. The Littlest Revue Broadway" IBDB , accessed November 3, 2016