Elaine Stritch (1925-2014)

Film Review Elaine Stritch Shoot Me


So. The hubby was working with her in London when she married John Bay. Genetically predisposed to trust directors she asked said hub to walk her down the aisle (she was a devout Catholic). While doing so she had a fit of the giggles and said, “Isn’t this fucking ridiculous”? My poor hubby, renegade Sephardim that he is, to shush her before the priest heard said “Elaine, please! You’re in church” To which she replied, “What? You think God never heard the word ‘fuck’ before?”

I think that just about sums it up. She was a pro. And I’m proud I once threw up on her.

Stritch, Bernadette Peters, Jerry Orbach … there aren’t many of the truly great. When Robert Morse got to sing and dance on Mad Men, I wept. No one knows what he did.

@Benedick: I would be too.

Do you remember her in the revival of Follies? It was as though that song had been written for her, as though she were writing it herself. I saw her in Albee’s A Delicate Balance, and while she was onstage she made me not hate watching an Edward Albee play. Really.

I’ve missed you all. Life is complicated right now. There is a large purchase in our future, and I’m freaking out. Why is adulthood so scary? I need to smoke more weed.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Adulthood is only scary if you make the mistake of growing up.

This is a very good obit plus a fine short video. There’s a lot left out but she’s at her best. We saw quite a lot of her in London when the other half did two plays with her. She was remarkable both for her wit, which was formidable, but also for the fact that I never heard her be mean about people. She would mock herself but not others. Especially those without her gifts. And though many people wouldn’t work with her she never picked a fight with anyone who couldn’t fight back. She might go for the director but never the ASM.

@blogenfreude: Look out for a movie entitled Top Banana. We saw it on TCM. It’s pretty much the stage show filmed and some of it is puzzling and not at all good. But Phil Silvers gets to play a burlesque comic and recreate a lot of old routines. It truly is a record of a lost art. The only other person I’ve seen who could do low comedy so brilliantly was Mickey Rooney.

@Benedick: You always have the best movie recommendations, but “Top Banana” is, unfortunately, not available on Netflix. A very great episode of Arrested Development with the same title (“There’s always money in the banana stand!”) is, however, so perhaps I will watch that instead.

@mellbell: I’ve only ever seen it on TCM. There are quite a few clips on youtube. Here’s the vaudeville ‘Banana Sketch. I get verklempt thinking that actors were doing this same shite back in Chaucer’s day. They don’t quite inflate pigs’ bladders in the movie but they pretty much do everything else. This is pre-Bilco and Silvers is masterful. Apparently Rose Marie was his leading lady but the part is almost entirely cut from the film.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: I saw the original Follies in all its foolish splendor. It was in equal parts astonishing and boring. I find Stritchie’s version of Broadway Baby so very enraged and I’m not sure why. Full disclosure, I thought her peerless. Her perf in the original Company was one of the great experiences. She had the courage of the real comic actor to wait for a laugh. To wait for the audience to catch up. For them to see her waiting for them to catch up. And then wait some more. And then to laugh. It’s a beautiful thing. I think I may have seen the original Delicate Balance but I might have been asleep.

Glad you’re OK. Checked on FB because I was concerned you might have become even more unhinged and done something rash. Then I saw you’d gone to the movies and I thought, well fuck you, douchebag. Embrace your adultery. It’s better than the alternative. Sidebar: Andrew and I did phone. Oh yeah.

From I’m Still Here (am I over-commenting? Does it make my ass look fat?)

First you’re another sloe-eyed vamp,
Then someone’s mother
Then you’re camp.
Then you career from career*
To career…

Sung by Yvonne de Carlo in the original and it described her exactly. She was terrible in the show. I thought Shirley McClain was pretty fab singing it in that movie. And the hubster says Ann Miller was definitive in a revival that Sondheim stopped being brought to town. I will now go away. Arnie’s trying to kill himself. But comes back from the brink. As the bishop said to the actress.

*I have serious misgivings about this line.

@Benedick: I grew up with Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko.

Unwashed Philistine here. I only know her from 30 Rock and I found her deeply annoying. I skip any episodes with her that pop up on the reruns.

But, hey – I got the Metalhead Dating ad, so that’s cool.

@redmanlaw: welcome back! or was it me that was MIA?

@redmanlaw: She was a theatre performer and it usually doesn’t translate.

Speaking of musical theatre and fabulous dames, today would have been baked’s 60th birthday.

@Mistress Cynica: Thanks for the reminder. Miss that crazy woman and her rat bastard.

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