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Here's to the Lady Who Lunched
July 17, 2014 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Elaine Stritch, star of stage and screen, has died at the age of 89.
posted by rmd1023 (89 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by maryr at 10:10 AM on July 17


Ah fuck.

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If you haven't seen Shoot Me, the recent documentary, now would obviously be a good time to seek it out.
posted by mykescipark at 10:11 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


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posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on July 17


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I only knew her from 30 Rock, but man, she was fantastic on that show. I've been meaning to watch the documentary (it's on Netflix Streaming, I believe) for a while. Now I will for sure.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:13 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


No no no no no no.

Fuck.
posted by tzikeh at 10:13 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


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posted by doctornecessiter at 10:14 AM on July 17


Everybody rise.
posted by ColdChef at 10:14 AM on July 17 [18 favorites]


"I'd like to propose a toast..."

Last fall at the Chicago Film Festival she actually came to a screening of the documentary about her. They had to move it into a larger theater. I brought two friends and we ended up sitting only four rows back from her. The Q&A after with her was amazing. The interviewer was pretty bad. He starting saying something about Angela Lansbury, to which Stritch replied "That's nice. Can we stop talking about her now?"

I'm so glad I got to see that, even if I never got to see her perform live.

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posted by dnash at 10:15 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


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posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:15 AM on July 17


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posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:15 AM on July 17


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posted by AloneOssifer at 10:16 AM on July 17


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posted by wanderingmind at 10:17 AM on July 17


She also played Rudy's teacher on The Cosby Show.

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posted by discopolo at 10:17 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


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posted by suelac at 10:17 AM on July 17


I'm at work where it is blocked, so I can't suggest a starting point, but you could do a lot worse with your afternoon than falling down an Elaine Stritch rabbit hole on YouTube.

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posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:17 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 10:20 AM on July 17


Aww shit. Was River of Fundament her last prominent appearance? Quite the curtain call.
posted by robself at 10:20 AM on July 17


Huge talent, huge loss. I have no idea why I thought that she would live forever, but I really kind of did.
posted by Mchelly at 10:20 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


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I loved this woman.
posted by Partario at 10:25 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Ohhhhh.

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posted by Sophie1 at 10:27 AM on July 17


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posted by Cash4Lead at 10:30 AM on July 17


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posted by Vibrissae at 10:30 AM on July 17


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posted by Bromius at 10:31 AM on July 17


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Speaking of “The Ladies Who Lunch,” here’s the Elaine Stritch alarm clock.
posted by editorgrrl at 10:31 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Elaine on Letterman. A truly classic appearance and a great look back at how edgy Dave's show used to be. Not that this was super edgy, but considering that many people in Dave's audience might not know who Elaine was... Well let's just say, Stritch could even put Dave in his place! She ruled!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:31 AM on July 17 [10 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 10:32 AM on July 17


Her 2004 Emmy speech is one of the best.
posted by cazoo at 10:33 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Sad news. Amazing life. Great talent. If you've not seen the making-of doc about Sondheim's Company cast album and are interested in Stritch's role in the show, make sure to catch it.

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posted by the sobsister at 10:34 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Oh, man, I loved her so much. She was truly someone who worked hard at her craft and who lived through just about everything.

Elaine Stritch At Liberty is her one-woman autobiographical show from a few years back, and I can't recommend it highly enough as a way to remember her.

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posted by hippybear at 10:34 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Elaine Stritch was the "broad" in Broadway, and I say that with as much love and respect and awe as I can muster. She didn't just live life on her own terms, she rewrote her terms whenever the fuck she wanted, and she did everything awesomely.

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posted by Etrigan at 10:35 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


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posted by thivaia at 10:38 AM on July 17


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posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 10:40 AM on July 17


I loved her in 30 Rock. "And then, where will I be? I'll be circling the globe in my coffin rocket. Something I saw on T.V. It's very expensive."

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posted by Metroid Baby at 10:41 AM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Shit. :( Very sad news.

Elaine Stritch At Liberty is her one-woman autobiographical show from a few years back, and I can't recommend it highly enough as a way to remember her.

I saw her perform it at the Public on Lafayette, way before it went to Broadway. She was So Damned Talented and funny as hell. Good lord, she was incredible. It was a privilege to be able to see her live.

May she enjoy WAY more than two drinks a day in the afterlife.

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posted by zarq at 10:41 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]




editorgrrl, I've been using that as my actual alarm tone since it turned up, and damned if I don't wake up with some wicked-ass jazz hands most mornings.
posted by sonascope at 10:50 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


American theater lost a real treasure today. Godspeed, ma'am.

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posted by magstheaxe at 10:56 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


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posted by Amplify at 11:00 AM on July 17


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posted by wrapper at 11:01 AM on July 17


Damn it!


I'll be drinking some crappy gin in her honor. What a talented lady. Looking forward to all the links that will be stored here, but so sad that she's gone.


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posted by blurker at 11:01 AM on July 17


Dammit, no. She was supposed to be immortal.

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posted by pxe2000 at 11:03 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


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posted by gaspode at 11:06 AM on July 17


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posted by Spatch at 11:08 AM on July 17


All death makes you think about your own mortality, especially when it someone close to you.

But Elaine Stritch does in a different way -- like in a "well, if she can't live forever, I guess the rest of us don't have a shot, I guess. Fuck."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:08 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


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posted by Lynsey at 11:10 AM on July 17


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posted by tonycpsu at 11:12 AM on July 17


And, holy shit is that Letterman video a thing of beauty. Thanks, ReeMonster!
posted by blurker at 11:13 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


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It's well worth watching the documentary about the original cast recording of Company. Part 1 starts here. It was just such a weird, passionate recording session.
posted by graymouser at 11:18 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


I love her so MUCH. Time for a Stinger! And one for Mahler.

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posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:18 AM on July 17


Oh, goddamnit. I loved that brassy, crotchety broad.

Big huge .
posted by palomar at 11:28 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I performed with Elaine Stritch at Carnegie Hall. She was wearing a white button down shirt, a pair of stockings and a pair of heels.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:28 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Aww, man, she was awesome. And I didn't even know she was from Michigan!
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 AM on July 17


I didn't know she was from Michigan either. I guess I always imagined the great lady in some penthouse above 5th Ave.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:35 AM on July 17


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posted by a fair but frozen maid at 11:37 AM on July 17


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posted by lysimache at 11:40 AM on July 17


And apparently, if you want to honor her with a cocktail, it's a vodka stinger. She started drinking again last year after 20 years of sobriety, but it was purportedly a detail that Sondheim took from her for "Ladies who Lunch."
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


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posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 AM on July 17


She always played by her own rules, and very few got that chance. A class act.


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posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:56 AM on July 17


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posted by marienbad at 12:11 PM on July 17


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Fuck, we've lost some great ones lately.
posted by in278s at 12:12 PM on July 17


Crappity mccrap. I now wish I'd tried to meet her when she moved to Birmingham.

Ever since my youthful obssession with Sondheim, my mother and I always did lines from Ladies Who Lunch, especially "Does anyone still wear a hat?"

And then of course, her great delivery on 30 Rock. (When she mistook Liz for Jack's GF, and said Liz had a great what, "baby basket"? Or this outrageous line, when Jack was in the hospital: "Tell him his mother's here. And she loves him. But not in a queer way.")
posted by NorthernLite at 12:20 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I got to see Elaine Stritch perform (with Bernadette Peters) in A Little Night Music on Broadway. Two of my heroes. They came out after the show to collect donations for Broadway Cares - it was a wonderful glimpse into both of their actual personas. This is a sad day.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 12:41 PM on July 17


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posted by ndfine at 12:45 PM on July 17


Still wearing a hat.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:08 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


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posted by amusebuche at 1:42 PM on July 17


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Remembering her own naive days, Stritch said she once asked Sondheim where she could go get a piece of Mahler's, thinking it was a kind of pastry. She said Sondheim looked at her and said he had to go pee.

Her attempt to record "Ladies Who Lunch" is the absolute climax of the "Making of Company" documentary that graymouser links to above. It is one of the most naked and revealing looks at the creative process ever put on film.
posted by How the runs scored at 1:47 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


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posted by Anitanola at 2:03 PM on July 17


Oh, fuck.

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posted by allthinky at 2:24 PM on July 17


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posted by wobh at 2:25 PM on July 17


What a dame! So talented, and made her exit a show in which she was, once again, a star. I'm so glad she was here.
posted by theora55 at 2:30 PM on July 17


I loved her. It's a sad day.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 3:08 PM on July 17


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posted by Paris Elk at 3:27 PM on July 17


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posted by monopas at 3:35 PM on July 17


My sister worked with her and said she was "crazy in the best way".

Seriously, what a talent.
posted by Red Loop at 5:48 PM on July 17


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posted by deeparch at 6:04 PM on July 17


In Sondheim's Finishing the Hat, he writes about Stritch's character Joanne and the song "The Ladies Who Lunch":
The character of Joanne was not only written for Elaine Stritch, it was based on her, or at least on her acerbic delivery of self-assessment, as exemplified by a moment George Furth had shared with her: they had entered a bar at two in the morning and Elaine, well-oiled, had murmured to the bartender in passing, "Just give me a bottle of vodka and a floor plan." It was my third attempt to write for a specific personality playing a specific character. The song fit her perfectly, the only problem occurring when, in all innocence, she asked me what kind of pastry "a piece of Mahler's" referred to - she figured it had to be some sort of schnecken.

Privately, I had hoped that the number would be such a showstopper in Elaine's hands that the audience would actually get up on the "Rise!" repetitions and give her a standing ovation.

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posted by kristi at 6:22 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


"Elaine was my friend for a while. She was, of course, a demented genius - in loveable ways. Can we appreciate the people who are around us right now? The answer, of course, is No, for we are all pathetic human beings.

It takes death for us to say aloud: thank you for everything, Elaine Stritch."

- Morrissey
posted by gwint at 6:35 PM on July 17


Elaine Stritch crossed my mind this evening as I was finishing up my walk... and then I checked my Feedly. I'd read recently that she was not doing very well physically, so I wasn't terribly surprised... but still. She was quite a dame.

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posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:37 PM on July 17


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posted by Ink-stained wretch at 6:37 PM on July 17


I only know her as Jack Donaghy's mom, and she was fantastic as such.

Her last episode, in which she portrayed Colleen as dying and post-stroke, was incredibly sad. And all of the other episodes were hilarious.
posted by ignignokt at 6:56 PM on July 17


If you have Netflix streaming service, they have the documentary "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" available to watch. I just watched it again - It's fantastic. You see her struggles with diabetes and booze as she fights to keep performing for as long as she can.
posted by dnash at 7:38 PM on July 17


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I heard earlier today, and wouldn't you know our orderly 30 Rock-watching schedule turned up her last episode.

She'll always be the voice in which I hear the words of the book Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. She used to present lots of series of BBC's Jackanory in the 70s, while she and her husband were living in London. At the time, I remember asking my mum who Elaine Stritch was, and I was told that she was "a really old singer". If her BBC Children's TV appearance was 40 years ago, Elaine would only have been a few years older than I am now …
posted by scruss at 8:32 PM on July 17


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Looking for a good tribute. Found one.
Royal Variety 1979
posted by dannyboybell at 9:00 PM on July 17


No. No no no no no.

She's the Broadway version of Betty White. She was supposed to be immortal.

I hope all of Broadway's lights are dimmed briefly at 8pm tomorrow night, in tribute--they did it for Jerry Orbach, they should do it for her.

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posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:29 PM on July 17


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So sorry to learn of this. Such a talent.
posted by On the Corner at 12:29 AM on July 18


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posted by Cranberry at 1:10 AM on July 18


I can't access Youtube here, but I recommend looking up her debut appearance on the UK radio show Just a Minute, alongside Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud -- from memory, she slays the audience without seeming to try.
posted by rollick at 3:04 AM on July 18


Gone, but never forgotten.

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posted by Pudhoho at 3:39 AM on July 18


Elaine Stritch: Her Best Quotes
On dating Rock Hudson:

“I walked into that innocently, and I walked out doubly innocently.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:26 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


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