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Julie Harris dies at 87…a Broadway and silver screen legend

She remains the only Broadway performer to win five Tony Awards in the lead category(both Angela Lansbury and Audra McDonald have garnered five, but with some of the victories being in the Featured Actress category). All of Julie’s wins were accomplished before I turned twelve years old, so unfortunately I never got to experience one of her legendary performances live(I have attended some of the award-winning work of Lansbury and McDonald, however). A 2002 Lifetime Achievement Tony gave Ms. Harris #6. What a career on the stage! Thankfully, she is also preserved on film—and her legacy there includes some of my favorites. Who could ever forget her wondrous work as Abra in 1955’s “East of Eden”—the iconic James Dean’s motion picture starring debut. And then there’s her perfect performance as Grace Miller, the love interest to Anthony Quinn’s “Mountain” Rivera in 1962’s marvelous “Requiem for a Heavyweight”. The following year she was Eleanor Lance, in the great 1963 haunted house thriller, “The Haunting”(based on Shirley Jackson’s incredible book, “The Haunting of Hill House”). That’s the big three for me…and I’d love to find time to visit them all again, now that Ms. Harris unfortunately took her final bow just three days ago. There’s plenty more film and television work to choose from, of course, with prominent roles in movies as diverse as 1988’s “Gorillas in the Mist” and 1993’s “The Dark Half”, also among those that I’ve considerably enjoyed(both of them on the big screen, at an actual movie theater, btw), so there’s an eclectic collection available for your Netflix queue. Farewell Ms. Julie…your legend will thrive forever!

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4 comments on “Julie Harris dies at 87…a Broadway and silver screen legend

  1. I haven’t seen much of Harris’ work, but I thought she was terrific in Robert Wise’s The Haunting. She was a terrific talent who will be missed.

  2. Indeed. Be sure to check out “East of Eden” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight” as well. The latter also has superb performances from Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney—along with an opening scene cameo from Cassius Clay(not then yet known as Muhammad Ali)! Thanks for checking in. ML

  3. I loved Julie so much as Lilimae Clements in Knots Landing. Such warmth and presence. I really should check out some of her movie performances. Wish I had had the chance to see her on stage.

  4. Never watched “Knots Landing” Simon, but yeah, seeing her on the stage would’ve been something to remember. My trip to “Sweeney Todd”, starring Angela Lansbury, when I was around 14 is one of my most cherished theatre memories. In 1986, I even secured a role in a 20 performance run of a play starring Ken Jennings, among others. Ken was the original Tobias in “Sweeney” on Broadway for its entire run. And I can report that he was a wonderful and spirited man who was a pleasure to work with. Thanks for checking in! ML

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