Rhymes With Witches: Broadway Badass Elaine Stritch

feature image from Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me 


On Thursday July, 17, Elaine Stritch passed away at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. There have been some amazing and wildly talented women that have lit up the stages of Broadway but none were brassier or sassier than Elaine Stritch. I always thought of theater as one of the most magical experiences anyone can experience and Elaine Stritch was one of it’s most skilled sorceresses. At 89 years old, she has worked with everyone from Sondheim to Dean Martin to Tina Fey (with numerous Tony and Emmy nominations thrown in for good measure). She will be equally remembered for the brassy characters she played and her brassier personality. What I’m trying to say is that, Elaine Stritch was a bitch and she didn’t give a f*ck what you thought about her. She was outspoken, uncompromising and FIERCE. She was the director of her own life and her tenacity and strong spirit will be sorely missed.

To pay tribute to this amazing woman I have collected some of my favorite moments from Elaine Stritch’s amazing career and hope you enjoy.


 

“The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company

Though Stritch made her Broadway debut when she was 21 years old, in 1946, she carved herself into Broadway history with Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking musical, Company.


 

Acceptance Speech at the 2004 Primetime Emmys

Oh yeah, in case winning over theater audiences wasn’t enough, she also had an extensive career in the big and small screens. She was nominated eight times for an Emmy, and won three. In this clip she just won an Emmy for her one woman show Elaine Stritch at the Liberty and her acceptance speech is the best thing ever.


 

Colleen on 30 Rock

Most of you probably know Stritch as Colleen, Jack Donaghy’s (Alec Baldwin) fabulous mother. It’s rumored that Stritch insisted on wearing her own fur coats and jewels to shoot the show, but was actually sending the bill to production and keeping her wardrobe! Oh Elaine, you sneaky little bitch.


 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15a5jz6J0lM

Elaine Stritch at the Liberty

For a better (and much more entertaining) telling of Stritch’s life and career check out her Tony and Emmy winning one-woman show. In it, she talks about overcoming alcoholism, dissing Marlon Brando, and failing the audition for Golden Girls all while wearing no pants!


 

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

Thankfully, this past year someone was brilliant enough to dedicate an entire documentary that captures the complex and multi-dimensional woman that is Elaine Stritch. Along with interviews from friends and colleagues (including Tina Fey, Cherry Jones and James Gandolfini), the film follows Stritch (87 years old at the time) as she struggles with aging, diabetes and alcoholism while managing a packed schedule full of stage performances and guest appearances on TV. While I have not seen it (YET!) it’s been revered as a tender and intimate look of a complex woman and artist.


Here I leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Elaine Stritch through the years:

“All you have to do is say, ‘I’m going home’, and you’re the most popular girl at the party.”

“I never found anyone who could look after me as well as I could look after myself.”

“You can’t be funny unless you’re tragic, and you can’t be tragic unless you’re funny.”

“This age thing is all up to you. It’s like happiness is up to you. You just have to understand what it is before you get it.”

Born in the small island of Puerto Rico, Nina currently lives in Athens, GA with her phantom corgi, Potato.You can find her work in BUST Magazine, HelloGiggles, Thought Catalogue and Portable.tv. She spends most of her time daydreaming about what it would be like to hand out with Taylor Swift and writing in her blog, http://femme-nist.blogspot.com

Nina has written 21 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. “I always thought of theater as one of the most magical experiences anyone can experience and Elaine Stritch was one of it’s most skilled sorceresses.”<3 <3 Yes, this.

    I've been really sad about Elaine Stritch. Thanks for writing about her!

    And I've already been watching all of these videos since yesterday, but I hope everyone who hasn't been watches them! <3

  2. Without doubt, Elaine Stritch was my spirit animal, and now she’s my guardian angel. We share a birthday, so I feel a special groundhog connection to her- In 2013, I was onstage at The Duplex (gay bar/cabaret venue in NYC) on our birthday, and I drank a vodka stinger in her honor. I saw Stritchie live only once- on Broadway in A Little Night Music opposite Bernadette Peters (who is my theatre icon). She forgot half the words, but she didn’t give a fuck- girl owned it. I saw Shoot Me opening night. She was supposed to be there, doing a Q&A after the film with the director, but she was drinking, so she didn’t show up.

    Lady Stritch didn’t give a shit what other people thought. She lived her life the way she wanted to. She was a legend who cursed on tv and in person. She was no Dainty June- she was Elaine fucking Stritch.

    I live my life through theatre. Stritchie was one of the women whom I looked up to. She was brave and strong and independent and had a brilliant career, and I’m sure she was vulnerable and had moments of weakness. But she was one if the strongest women I’ve ever come across in my life.

    In my own special, weird way, I loved Elaine Stritch. I felt personally connected to her. If I can only give fewer fucks, maybe I’ll live as long and as magically as her. I’ve never been so effected by a “celebrity” death. To me, she wasn’t a “celebrity” or whatever that word means- she was part of the family. The dysfunctional family that is theatre.

    Stritchie, thank you for being you. Your presence will never leave- you’ll be in every theatre I ever enter. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m sure you’re entertaining the shit out of everyone in heaven…without pants.

    I’ll drink to that.

  3. I can’t believe the Stritch is gone. For some reason I though she would outlive all of us. I’m so glad some precious soul had the good sense to film her during her last years for what looks to be an awesome documentary. I can’t wait to see it.

  4. Someone I don’t know anymore on Facebook posted this horrible status about being annoyed with all the Stritch love because he was not a fan of her’s at all.

    I have since unfriended said individual, and I never unfriend.

    Watching all these videos again, and loving this tribute. Thanks again for it.

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