Elaine Stritch passed away today at the age of 89. There’s a pretty good chance that you, younger-skewing Internet user, knew her best as Colleen Donaghy, the overbearing, acid-tongued mother of Alec Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock. And if that’s all you knew of her work, fine. She was lightning in a bottle in that role, and she earned a much-deserved Emmy for it. There are worse things for which to be remembered. But she was also a legendary figure on Broadway (and in showbiz, in general), picking up multiple Tony nominations and one win (for her 2002 one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty), and getting inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1995. Elaine Stritch was a powerhouse.
Oh, and she was a total blast, too, setting the Internet on fire earlier this year by dropping a live f-bomb in Kathie Lee and Hoda’s laps, and inspiring passages like this, from her obituary in the New York Times:
Plainspoken, egalitarian, impatient with fools and foolishness, and admittedly fond of cigarettes, alcohol and late nights — she finally gave up smoking and drinking in her 60s — though she took it up again — Ms. Stritch might be the only actor to work as a bartender after starring on Broadway, and she was completely unabashed about her good-time-girl attitude.
“I’m not a bit opposed to your mentioning in this article that Frieda Fun here has had a reputation in the theater, for the past five or six years, for drinking,” she said to a reporter for The New York Times in 1968. “I drink and I love to drink, and it’s part of my life.”
Frieda Fun. Tremendous. Rest in peace, Elaine. God knows you earned it.