Maureen Stapleton

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Maureen Stapleton
Maureen stapleton.jpg
Born Lois Maureen Stapleton
(1925-06-21)June 21, 1925
Troy, New York, U.S.
Died March 13, 2006(2006-03-13) (aged 80)
Lenox, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1946–2003
Spouse(s) Max Allentuck (1949-1959)
David Rayfiel (1963-1966)

Maureen Stapleton (June 21, 1925 – March 13, 2006) was an American actress in film, theater and television. She won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards and a British Academy Award. She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.

Stapleton made her Broadway debut in 1946 in The Playboy of the Western World. She went on to win two Tony Awards, winning Best Featured Actress in a Play for the original 1951 production of The Rose Tattoo and Best Lead Actress in a Play for the original 1970 production of The Gingerbread Lady. On screen, she received the first of four Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her debut film performance in Lonelyhearts (1958) and won an Emmy for the television film Among the Paths to Eden (1967). She also received Academy Award nominations for Airport (1970) and Interiors (1978), before winning for her performance as Emma Goldman in Reds (1981). This role also won her the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Early life[edit]

Stapleton was born Lois Maureen Stapleton in Troy, New York, the daughter of Irene (née Walsh) and John P. Stapleton, and grew up in a strict Irish American Catholic family.[1][2] Her father was an alcoholic and her parents separated during her childhood.[3][4]

Career[edit]

Stapleton moved to New York City at the age of eighteen, and did modeling to pay the bills. She once said that it was her infatuation with the handsome Hollywood actor Joel McCrea which led her into acting. She made her Broadway debut in the production featuring Burgess Meredith of The Playboy of the Western World in 1946. That same year, she played the role of Iras in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" in a touring production by actress and producer Katharine Cornell.[5] Stepping in because Anna Magnani refused the role due to her limited English, Stapleton won a Tony Award for her role in Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo in 1951. (Magnani's English improved, however, and she was able to play the role in the film version, winning an Oscar.) Stapleton played in other Williams' productions, including Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton and Orpheus Descending (and its film adaptation, The Fugitive Kind, co-starring her friend Marlon Brando), as well as Lillian Hellman's Toys in the Attic. She won a second Tony Award for Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady, which was written especially for her, in 1971. Later Broadway roles included "Birdie" in The Little Foxes opposite Elizabeth Taylor and as a replacement for Jessica Tandy in The Gin Game.

Stapleton's film career, though limited, brought her immediate success, with her debut in Lonelyhearts (1958) earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in the 1963 film version of Bye Bye Birdie, in the role of Mama Mae Peterson, with Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde and Ann-Margret. Stapleton played the role of Dick Van Dyke's mother, even though she was only five months and 22 days older than Van Dyke. She was nominated again for an Oscar for Airport (1970) and Woody Allen's Interiors (1978). She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Reds (1981), directed by Warren Beatty, in which she portrayed the Lithuanian-born anarchist, Emma Goldman. She ended her acceptance speech with the quip "I would like to thank everyone I've ever met in my entire life."[6]

Stapleton won a 1968 Emmy Award for her performance in Among the Paths of Eden. She was nominated for the television version of All the King's Men (1959), Queen of the Stardust Ballroom (1975), and The Gathering (1977). Her more recent appearances included Johnny Dangerously (1984), Cocoon (1985) and its sequel Cocoon: The Return (1988).

She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.[7] She was an alumna of the famous Actors Studio in New York City, led by Lee Strasberg. She became friends with Marilyn Monroe, who was only one year younger than Stapleton. She was impressed with Monroe's talent, and always thought it was a shame that Monroe was rarely allowed to play roles beyond the ditzy blonde. By comparison, Stapleton thought herself lucky: "I never had that problem. People looked at me on stage and said, 'Jesus, that broad better be able to act.'" One of the most famously remembered scenes at the studio was when Stapleton and Monroe acted in Anna Christie together.

She hosted the 19th episode of Season 4 of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1979.

Personal life and death[edit]

Stapleton's first husband was Max Allentuck, general manager to the producer Kermit Bloomgarden, and her second, playwright David Rayfiel, from whom she divorced in 1966.[8] She had a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Katherine, by her first husband. Her daughter, Katherine Allentuck, garnered good reviews for her single movie role, that of "Aggie" in Summer of '42 (Stapleton herself also had a minor, uncredited role in the film as the protagonist's mother, though only her voice is heard, she does not appear on camera).

Stapleton suffered from anxiety and alcoholism for many years and once told an interviewer, "The curtain came down and I went into the vodka."[9] She also said that her unhappy childhood contributed to her insecurities. A lifelong heavy smoker, Stapleton died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2006 at her home in Lenox, Massachusetts.[9]

In 1981 Hudson Valley Community College in Stapleton's childhood city of Troy, New York, dedicated a theater in her name.[10]

Maureen was not, as commonly believed, related to the actress Jean Stapleton.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Lonelyhearts Fay Doyle Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1959 The Fugitive Kind Vee Talbot
1961 Vu du pont Beatrice Carbone
1963 Bye Bye Birdie Mama Mae Peterson
1969 Trilogy Mary O'Meaghan
1970 Airport Inez Guerrero Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1971 Plaza Suite Karen Nash Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Summer of '42 Hermie's mother Voice (Uncredited)
1978 Interiors Pearl Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
1979 The Runner Stumbles Mrs. Shandig
Lost and Found Jemmy
1981 Reds Emma Goldman Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (runner-up)
The Fan Belle Goldman
On the Right Track Mary the Bag Lady
1984 Johnny Dangerously Ma Kelly
1985 Cocoon Marilyn Luckett
1986 Heartburn Vera
The Money Pit Estelle
1987 Nuts Rose Kirk
Made in Heaven Aunt Lisa
Sweet Lorraine Lillian Garber
1988 Doin' Time on Planet Earth Helium Balloon Saleslady
Cocoon: The Return Marilyn 'Mary' Luckett
1992 Passed Away Mary Scanlan
1994 Trading Mom Mrs. Cavour
The Last Good Time Ida Cutler
1997 Addicted to Love Nana
1998 Wilbur Falls Wilbur Falls High Secretary
2003 Living and Dining Mrs. Lundt

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1954 Medic Evelyn Strauss episode: Day 10
The Philco Television Playhouse Daughter episode: The Mother
1955 The Philco Television Playhouse Mrs. Johnson episode: Incident in July
1956 Armstrong Circle Theatre Mrs. Elizabeth Steigerwald episode: H.R. 8438: The Story of a Lost Boy
The Alcoa Hour Vi Miller episode: No License to Kill (II)
Studio One in Hollywood Rachel Johnson episode: Rachel
1958 Kraft Theatre Sadie Burke episode: All the King's Men
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actress
1959 Playhouse 90 Pilar episode: For Whom the Bell Tolls
1960 CBS Repertoire Workshop Tessie episode: Tessie Malfitano and Anton Waldek
1961 Car 54, Where Are You? Gypsy Woman episode: The Gypsy Curse
Naked City Abbey Bick episode: Ooftus Goofus
1962 Naked City Ruth Cullan episode: Kill Me While I'm Young So I Can Die Happy!
The DuPont Show of the Week Professor Gretchen Anna Thaelman episode: The Betrayal
1964 East Side/West Side Molly Cavanaugh episode: One Drink at a Time
1967 Among the Paths to Eden Mary O'Meaghan (TV movie)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama
1969 Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall Ruthie Maxwell (TV movie)
1974 Tell Me Where It Hurts Connie (TV movie)
1975 Queen of the Stardust Ballroom Bea Asher (TV movie)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy
1976 The Lively Arts Amanda Wingfield in 'The Glass Menagerie' episode: Tennessee Williams
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Big Mama (TV movie)
1977 The Gathering Kate (TV movie)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special
1979 Letters from Frank Betty Miller (TV movie)
The Gathering, Part II Kate Thornton (TV movie)
1982 The Electric Grandmother Grandmother (TV movie)
Little Gloria... Happy at Last Nurse Emma Kieslich (TV movie)
1983 Great Performances White Queen episode: Alice in Wonderland
1984 Sentimental Journey Ruthie (TV movie)
Family Secrets Maggie Lukauer (TV movie)
1985 Private Sessions Dr. Liz Bolger (TV movie)
1988 The Thorns Peggy
Mrs. Hamilton
episode: The Other Maid
episode: The Maid
Liberace: Behind the Music Frances Liberace (TV movie)
1989 B.L. Stryker Auntie Sue episode: Auntie Sue
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
The Equalizer Emily Rutherford episode: The Caper
1992 Last Wish Ida Rollin (TV movie)
Miss Rose White Tanta Perla (TV movie)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Lincoln Sarah Bush Lincoln (voice)
(TV movie)
1995 Road to Avonlea Maggie MacPhee episode: What a Tangled Web We Weave
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sean O’Driscol (March 2006). "Stapleton, Oscar Winner, Dies at 80". Irish Abroad. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  2. ^ Tom Vallance (15 March 2006). "Maureen Stapleton". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  3. ^ The Associated Press (13 March 2006). "Famed Actress Maureen Stapleton Dies". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  4. ^ Robert Berkvist (19 March 2006). "Maureen Stapleton; actress collected Oscar, Tonys, Emmy". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  5. ^ Mosel, "Leading Lady: The World and Theatre of Katharine Cornell
  6. ^ IMDB
  7. ^ "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame." The New York Times, March 3, 1981.
  8. ^ Daniel McEneny (June 2009). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: David Rayfiel House". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  9. ^ a b Berkvist, Robert (2006-03-13). "Maureen Stapleton, Oscar-Winning Actress, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  10. ^ Staff writers (1981-11-30). "College to Call Theater The Maureen Stapleton". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  11. ^ Weber, Bruce (June 1, 2013). "Jean Stapleton, Who Played Archie Bunker’s Better Angel, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]