Constance Towers

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Constance Towers
Constance Towers.jpg
Constance Towers in The Horse Soldiers (1959)
Born Constance Mary Towers
(1933-05-20) 20 May 1933 (age 80)
Whitefish, Montana, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1952-present
Spouse(s) Eugene McGrath (divorced); 2 children
John Gavin; 2 stepchildren

Constance Mary Towers (born 20 May 1933[1]) is an American actress and singer. In a six-decade career in films, television and on stage, important parts have included the role of Anna in a Broadway revival of The King and I, several leading film roles, and such popular television roles as Clarissa McCandless in Capitol and villainous Helena Cassadine on General Hospital.

Early life[edit]

Towers was born in Whitefish, Montana, the daughter of Ardath L. (née Reynolds) and Harry J. Towers (both born in Ireland according to the 1940 U.S. census.)[2] According to her official website, she was offered a contract with Paramount Pictures at age 11, but the offer was declined by her parents. She later attended Juilliard School of Music and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3]

Towers in the play The King and I (1977)

Career[edit]

After several film, television and stage roles (including a West Coast tour of Guys and Dolls), Towers mader her Broadway debut playing the title role in the short-lived 1965 musical, Anya, and appeared as Julie in a 1966 production of Show Boat at Lincoln Center. She also starred in Carousel in 1966 and The Sound of Music in 1967. She played Anna Leonowens in 1968 briefly, and later opposite Yul Brynner in a long-running revival of The King and I on tour and then on Broadway (1976–1978). In 1985, she played the role of Phyllis in a tour of Stephen Sondheim's Follies with Tony Winning Actress Judy Kaye cast as Sally. [4] Clive Barnes praised Towers in the role,[5] and theatre writer John Kenrick calls her performance on the 1977 cast album "great".[6]

Towers starred in number of movies including The Horse Soldiers (1959) opposite John Wayne, Sergeant Rutledge (1960), Shock Corridor (1963), Fate Is the Hunter, and The Naked Kiss (1964). In later years she appeared in The Next Karate Kid (1994), and A Perfect Murder (1998).

Towers' first television appearance was in 1948 on the Ed Sullivan Show. She starred in several television soap operas, playing Marian Hiller, the wheelchair-bound wife of Dr. Sanford Hiller in Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1967); as noble widow Clarissa McCandless in Capitol (1982-1987, the show's entire run); John Abbott's former secretary, Audrey North, on The Young and the Restless (1996) and Madame Julianna Deschanel on Sunset Beach (1997). Her best known soap part is as villainous Helena Cassadine on General Hospital which she began playing late in 1997, continuing on and off until 2013 when her character was allegedly shot to death by long-time rival Luke Spencer. .[3]

Towers during a visit to the set of the television show General Hospital as part of Los Angeles Navy Week 2011

Towers guest-starred in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Forsaken" in 1993. She has had guest roles on a number of popular television programs, including five episodes of Perry Mason. In her first two appearances she played the murderer: Jonny Baker in "The Case of the Missing Melody" (1961), and Esther Metcalfe in "The Case of the Prankish Professor" (1963). She also appeared in Designing Women, Frasier, Baywatch and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Other television roles include State Trooper, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files, L.A. Law, The 4400, and Cold Case.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Towers was first married to Eugene McGrath, and since 1974 has been married to actor and former ambassador to Mexico, John Gavin. She has two children from her first marriage and two stepchildren by her marriage to Gavin.[3]

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Constance Towers' IMDb profile
  2. ^ "Constance Towers profile at FilmReference.com". FilmReference.com. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Constance Towers Playing Helena Cassadine on General Hospital - Soaps.com". Soaps.sheknows.com. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Biography - Constance Towers". American Theatre Wing. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  5. ^ Barnes, Clive. "King and I, reminder of golden age", The New York Times, May 3, 1977, p. 50, accessed January 30, 2014 (subscription required)
  6. ^ Kenrick, John. "Comparative CD Reviews: Part III. The King and I" (Copyright 1998–2003), accessed January 30, 2011
  7. ^ "Constance Towers Credits". Tvguide.com. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 

External links[edit]