I’d like to propose a toast: to the lady who lunched, who occasionally chewed scenery, and who was a character actress with great character but also great dignity, great honesty, great fears she faced, and great star power. She was more than a broad from Broadway, she was a Lady of the Theatre in the proper sense, a student of finishing schools and also the University of Hard Knocks.
I saw her perform live and she was at one with the stage, a zen exercise in which the lines and lyrics didn’t matter. She could have stood on stage and read the Hong Kong telephone directory aloud and literally no one in the theatre would have cared. It was a chance to bask in some good old-fashioned star quality.
Having worked in talent agencies in Los Angeles and Chicago I have met some of the most beautiful men and women in the world, I have known some very recognizable names, and had the pleasure to know a great many hardworking actors and actresses whose work is solid and who are consummate professionals. But you can spot a class act like Elaine Stritch a mile away and as the old cliche goes, they don’t make ‘em like her anymore. “Everybody rise!”