Sunday, August 25, 2013

Julie Harris Dead At 87

Julie Harris, one of Broadway's most honored performers, whose roles ranged from the extravagant Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" to the antisocial Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst," passed away on Saturday. She was 87.

Actress and family pal Francesca James revealed that Harris died at her West Chatham, Mass., home of congestive heart failure.

Harris won five Tony Awards for best actress in a play, showing a virtuosity that gave her the opportunity 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).

Harris was honored again with a sixth Tony, a special lifetime achievement award in 2002. Her record is up against Audra McDonald, with five competitive Tonys, and Angela Lansbury with 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 explained.

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

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

Harris' biggest successes and most pleasing moments have been on stage. "The theater has been my church," Harris once admitted, adding: "I don't hesitate to say that I found God in the theater."

R.I.P Julie Harris

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