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Elaine Stritch, salty star of Broadway and 30 Rock, dies at 89

Published on Jul 18, 2014 11:29 AM
This 2010 file photo shows Tony Award-winning actress Elaine Stritch as she appears onstage during a White House Music Series event saluting Broadway theater and music performances. The much loved Broadway actress and singer, who enthralled theatre audiences for 70 years with her brassy voice and quick-fire comedy delivery, has died on July 17, 2014, she was 89. -- PHOTO: AFP

(Reuters) - Elaine Stritch, a husky-voiced actress whose performances over six decades lit up New York's Broadway and London's West End and brought a touch of the profane to the stage with her brassy personality, died on Thursday at age 89.

Stritch, who also had Emmy-winning roles on the television shows 30 Rock and Law & Order, died at home in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of her native Detroit, from natural causes, her spokesman said. She had suffered from diabetes for several years and had been in declining health.

She worked with some of the stage's greatest composers - from Noel Coward, who called her Stritchie, to Stephen Sondheim, who wrote what became her signature song, the show-stopping The Ladies Who Lunch, from the 1970 musical Company. Her performances were not the only things that made Stritch a Broadway legend. She could be loud, blunt, demanding and profane. In a May 2013 interview with actor Alec Baldwin, Stritch agreed with his assessment that she was a "legendary pain in the ass". She played the mother of Baldwin's 30 Rock character, TV network boss Jack Donaghy. "I want to be talked about," Stritch told the Hollywood Reporter that same year. "I want to be written about. I want everything about me! And I don't make any bones about that. I like it being all about me."

She was so closely identified with New York that the city's Landmarks Conservancy declared her a living landmark in 2003. In 2013, she said she no longer had the energy required to live in New York and returned to Michigan.

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