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Julie Harris dies at 87


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From the Associated Press:

 

WEST CHATHAM, Mass. - Broadway star Julie Harris, who won an unprecedented five Tony Awards for best actress, has died. She was 87.

Actress and family friend Francesca James says Harris died Saturday at her home in West Chatham, Massachusetts. She had previously suffered two strokes.

Harris' Tony-winning roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst," a one-woman show.

Television viewers knew her as the free-spirited Lilimae Clements in the 1980s series "Knots Landing."

 

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Much more detailed obituary:

 

NEW YORK — Julie Harris, one of Broadway's most honored performers, whose roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst," died Saturday. She was 87.

Harris died at her West Chatham, Mass. home of congestive heart failure, actress and family friend Francesca James said.

Harris won a record five Tony Awards for best actress in a play, displaying a virtuosity that enabled her to portray an astonishing gallery of women during a theater career that spanned almost 60 years and included such plays as "The Member of the Wedding" (1950), "The Lark" (1955), "Forty Carats" (1968) and "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" (1972).

She was honored again with a sixth Tony, a special lifetime achievement award in 2002. Only Angela Lansbury has neared her record, winning four Tonys in the best actress-musical category and one for best supporting actress in a play.

Harris had suffered a stroke in 2001 while she was in Chicago appearing in a production of Claudia Allen's "Fossils." She suffered another stroke in 2010, James said.

"I'm still in sort of a place of shock," said James, who appeared in daytime soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live."

"She was, really, the greatest influence in my life," said James, who had known Harris for about 50 years.

Television viewers knew Harris as the free-spirited Lilimae Clements on the prime-time soap opera "Knots Landing." In the movies, she was James Dean's romantic co-star in "East of Eden" (1955), and had rolls in such films as "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1962), "The Haunting" (1963) and "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967).

Yet Harris' biggest successes and most satisfying moments have been on stage. "The theater has been my church," the actress once said. "I don't hesitate to say that I found God in the theater."

 

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/24/julie-harris-dead_n_3810980.html

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Much more detailed obituary:

 

 

 

MORE: http://www.huffingto..._n_3810980.html

Always loved everything she ever did, starting with Member of the Wedding where you would have thought she was a boy. She never looked like she was acting, she just became these incredible characters in role after role, NOT ROLLS like these morons wrote. Never had occasion to see her perform on Broadway but never missed her on Knots Landing and many other film and television R O L E S . Had three ex husbands and only one child, a son.

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A thin thread of a Lucy connection:

Julie starred in her one Broadway musical "Skyscraper" in 1965 which was based on Elmer Rice's "Ream Girl" play which Lucy toured with in the late 40s. Skycraper co-stars were Lucy alums Peter Marshall and Charles Nelson Reilly.

It's very possible that a musicalization of "Dream Girl" was proposed as one of the projects for Lucy's musical before settling on "Wildcat".

The "Skyscraper" songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen were originally set to write the Wildcat score. If their Skyscraper songs are any indication, I'm awfully glad they went with Colemen and Leigh. Skyscraper was not a great show and was not helped by the pedestrian songs. Closing on its own with 248 performances, it didn't last much longer than Wildcat's aborted run, Wildcat had 171 official Broadway performances, but spent 6 weeks in Philadelphia and had two previews which brings the total up to more like 221. Skyscraper had its try-out with 22 preview performances in New York.

The fact that Skyscraper staged their preview performances in New York created some controversy. In those days, the newspaper reviews were all-powerful and it was a gentleman's agreement that critics would not write about a show until it officially opened, but Dorothy Kilgallen gave her (negative) opinion of Skyscraper during previews, which resulted in a bit of an uproar. Dorothy did not live to see the opening having died mysteriously the week before.

Julie Harris was one of many established stars not known for their singing who headlined Broadway musicals in the late 50s and 60s. Lucy, of course, plus Phil Silvers, Richard Burton, Jackie Gleason, George Gobel, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. Of these Julie had the weakest singing voice, very mousy and barely able to stay on pitch. She makes Lucy sound like Ethel Merman.

"Skyscraper" does not have one stand-out tune. IMO one of the worst Broadway scores of the golden era.

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A thin thread of a Lucy connection:

Julie starred in her one Broadway musical "Skyscraper" in 1965 which was based on Elmer Rice's "Ream Girl" play which Lucy toured with in the late 40s. Skycraper co-stars were Lucy alums Peter Marshall and Charles Nelson Reilly.

It's very possible that a musicalization of "Dream Girl" was proposed as one of the projects for Lucy's musical before settling on "Wildcat".

The "Skyscraper" songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen were originally set to write the Wildcat score. If their Skyscraper songs are any indication, I'm awfully glad they went with Colemen and Leigh. Skyscraper was not a great show and was not helped by the pedestrian songs. Closing on its own with 248 performances, it didn't last much longer than Wildcat's aborted run, Wildcat had 171 official Broadway performances, but spent 6 weeks in Philadelphia and had two previews which brings the total up to more like 221. Skyscraper had its try-out with 22 preview performances in New York.

The fact that Skyscraper staged their preview performances in New York created some controversy. In those days, the newspaper reviews were all-powerful and it was a gentleman's agreement that critics would not write about a show until it officially opened, but Dorothy Kilgallen gave her (negative) opinion of Skyscraper during previews, which resulted in a bit of an uproar. Dorothy did not live to see the opening having died mysteriously the week before.

Julie Harris was one of many established stars not known for their singing who headlined Broadway musicals in the late 50s and 60s. Lucy, of course, plus Phil Silvers, Richard Burton, Jackie Gleason, George Gobel, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. Of these Julie had the weakest singing voice, very mousy and barely able to stay on pitch. She makes Lucy sound like Ethel Merman.

"Skyscraper" does not have one stand-out tune. IMO one of the worst Broadway scores of the golden era.

So I take it you did not like it then? LOL! Amazing, never heard a negative review of anything she ever did, before this post. By the way, the show Lucy did was D R E A M girl, not ream. If you want to hear horrible singing, try Les Miserables which i'm watching right now and Russell Crowe is ruining the movie for me. And Hugh Jackman's helping. Greatest score I ever heard and they had to hire Crowe?

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So I take it you did not like it then? LOL! Amazing, never heard a negative review of anything she ever did, before this post. By the way, the show Lucy did was D R E A M girl, not ream. If you want to hear horrible singing, try Les Miserables which i'm watching right now and Russell Crowe is ruining the movie for me. And Hugh Jackman's helping. Greatest score I ever heard and they had to hire Crowe?

 

I liked Crowe. Certainly won't erase memories of Philip Quast for me but I enjoyed his more intimate approach. Stars is my favorite number in the show. I love hearing songs styled different ways. And many times I prefer an imperfect voice because of the character it can bring to a song. Lucy in Mame comes to mind, sweetie :)

 

I guess what I'm saying is I don't try to negatively compare performances to others. Take each as it is.

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So I take it you did not like it then? LOL! Amazing, never heard a negative review of anything she ever did, before this post. By the way, the show Lucy did was D R E A M girl, not ream. If you want to hear horrible singing, try Les Miserables which i'm watching right now and Russell Crowe is ruining the movie for me. And Hugh Jackman's helping. Greatest score I ever heard and they had to hire Crowe?

Dontcha just hate it when they give a lead to someone who can't sing at all, like Lee Marvin in Paint your Wagon or Crowe in this? But I guess I hated the all singing no dialogue bit more than anything else, so damned annoying, I will N E V E R watch that movie again, only one of these that was less annoying was Evita. Such great scores ruined by the lack of dialogue. I'm surprised they didn't have someone come out and sing THE END at the end of this opus.
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Dontcha just hate it when they give a lead to someone who can't sing at all, like Lee Marvin in Paint your Wagon or Crowe in this? But I guess I hated the all singing no dialogue bit more than anything else, so damned annoying, I will N E V E R watch that movie again, only one of these that was less annoying was Evita. Such great scores ruined by the lack of dialogue. I'm surprised they didn't have someone come out and sing THE END at the end of this opus.

 

It's called opera :)

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Well that's the point of modern day sung thru "operettas" or "pop operas". They are done in an operatic style. What you seem to prefer are book musicals, which have chunks of dialogue in between the songs.

ZACTLY, it's just that the sing song delivery bothers your ears after a while, when it's not a terrific song and when Hathaway did her great solo and was crying as much as singing, I nearly had to shut off the sound, so damned annoying.

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BUT, I hasten to add that the score was out of this world terrific, I heard that the musical did not do well when it opened, the critics called it too dark and the lack of cohesion too I think, BUT, that score sold it through word of mouth and it is one of the top three all time long running musicals ever I think.

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ZACTLY, it's just that the sing song delivery bothers your ears after a while, when it's not a terrific song and when Hathaway did her great solo and was crying as much as singing, I nearly had to shut off the sound, so damned annoying.

 

Speak for yourself. There's more to musicals than singing. Acting is more important for me.

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What were you expecting? The no-dialogue show has been kicking around for about 30 years now. lol

I was never interested as I was F R E N C H themed. But then, on one of those Broadway treasures, I heard it and was hooked, I play it all the time, so I hear all the great songs done one after the other and no monstrously long boring and unmelodic tunes to put me to sleep.

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Though "Skyscraper" itself was ho-hummed at by the critics, nobody took potshots at Miss Harris. They were kinder to the show than the material warranted, I think partly because of the brouhaha caused by Dorothy Kilgallen in-print slam of a preview performance. Critics made a point to say Julie was never less than likeable and could be excused for not being a singer, but I wouldn't call her personal reviews raves. Yet she received a Tony nomination. However, Lucy's personal notices in Wildcat were, with one exception (and that one was not a pan), the kind of raves most performers can only dream about, but she received no Tony nom. What's more surprising is that "Skyscraper" was nominated for Best Musical, but it was just a fill-out the list of-nominees nomination because no one expected it to win over "Mame" "Man of La Mancha" or "Sweet Charity". For the record, the winner was "LaMancha" with Angela, Frankie Michaels and Bea Arthur winning in the musical acting categories.

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Though "Skyscraper" itself was ho-hummed at by the critics, nobody took potshots at Miss Harris. They were kinder to the show than the material warranted, I think partly because of the brouhaha caused by Dorothy Kilgallen in-print slam of a preview performance. Critics made a point to say Julie was never less than likeable and could be excused for not being a singer, but I wouldn't call her personal reviews raves. Yet she received a Tony nomination. However, Lucy's personal notices in Wildcat were, with one exception (and that one was not a pan), the kind of raves most performers can only dream about, but she received no Tony nom. What's more surprising is that "Skyscraper" was nominated for Best Musical, but it was just a fill-out the list of-nominees nomination because no one expected it to win over "Mame" "Man of La Mancha" or "Sweet Charity". For the record, the winner was "LaMancha" with Angela, Frankie Michaels and Bea Arthur winning in the musical acting categories.

Yeah, well, don't remind me. I think Broadway's always been snobbish about not giving noms to TV or movie people although that has changed a lot since then, now it's the opposite as they look for NAMES to bring in the patrons for those expensive seats. Lucy got nothing for Wildcat and then years later, her daughter missed out on one also for They're Playing Our Song.

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