Sandra Church

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Sandra Church
Born Sandra Church
(1938-01-13) January 13, 1938 (age 76)
San Francisco, California
Residence New York City, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Actress, Singer, Performer
Known for Gypsy Rose Lee in
Gypsy: A Musical Fable
Spouse(s) Norman Twain (1964-1975)

Sandra Church (born January 13, 1938, in San Francisco, California) is an American actress in films and theatre, primarily known for her performance as Gypsy Rose Lee in the 1959 musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable,[1] for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Early life[edit]

Church was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Her father died when she was two years old; her mother, a nurse, "thrust her in to show business". Although Church had original detested the idea, she later decided to choose acting as her vocation.[2] She attended Immaculate Heart High School in Hollywood.[3]


Films and television[edit]

Church's first on-screen appearance was on the Producers' Showcase, followed by the role of Jeannie in The Mugger (1958). She subsequently guest starred on the television series Look Up And Live (1959), as well as The DuPont Show of the Month in 1960. Three years later, she played Marion MacWhite in the film adaptation of Eugene Burdick and William Lederer's novel, The Ugly American (1963). Also in 1963, she appeared on television in The Eleventh Hour and Kraft Suspense Theatre. Church played a minor role in the film Prison Ship, which was released in North America in 1986.


In 1953, she made her Broadway debut in William Inge's Picnic at the Music Box Theatre.[4][5][6] Church then starred as Betsy Dean in the Ronald Alexander play Holiday for Lovers.[7]

Church's first major theatre role was in the Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, and Arthur Laurents 1959 Broadway musical, Gypsy: A Musical Fable, in which Church starred as Louise Hovick ("Gypsy Rose Lee").[8][9][10] In his autobiography, Laurents states, "It came down to between Suzanne Pleshette and Sandra Church. Suzanne was the better actress, but Sandra was the better singer. We went with Sandra."[11] In Gypsy, Church introduced the popular standard "Let Me Entertain You."[12][13]

Following Gypsy, Church appeared in the 1960 Broadway play Under the Yum Yum Tree at Henry Miller's Theatre, directed by Joseph Anthony, which ran for 173 performances.[14]


Year Title Label
Gypsy: A Musical Fable
(Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Columbia Records
Let Me Entertain You
Columbia Records
Gypsy Meets Gypsy
Sepia Records

Personal life[edit]

In October 1961 it was widely reported that Church and Gypsy composer Jule Styne would marry, although this was denied in rehearsals of the musical.[15] Church was later romantically linked to Harold Fishman; their relationship ended in April 1964.[16] In November 1964, she married Broadway producer Norman Twain in Barbados. She currently lives in San Francisco .[3]


  1. ^ Kantor, Michael and Laurence Maslon, Broadway: The American Musical, Bulfinch Press, New York, p. 286.
  2. ^ "Sandra Church captures role of a stripper". Sarasota Journal. March 4, 1960. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Sarasota-Harold Tribune
  4. ^ Marill, Alvin H. More Theatre: Stage to Screen to Television, Vol II (M-Z), Metuchen: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993. p.944
  5. ^ Inge, William. Four Plays. New York: Grove Press, 1958. p.73.
  6. ^ Hawkins-Dady, Mark (Editor). International Dictionary of Theatre - 1: Plays, Chicago: St. James Press, 1992. p.613-614.
  7. ^ "Profile for the 1957 play". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  8. ^ Barnes, Clive. "Gypsy Bounces Back With Zest and Lilt", New York Times, September 24, 1974
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben. "New Momma Takes Charge" New York Times May 2, 2003
  10. ^ Rich, Frank. The Hot Seat:Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980-1993, Random House, 1998, ISBN 0-679-45300-8
  11. ^ Gates, Anita.NYTimes-21cnd-Pleshette "Suzanne Pleshette, 70, 'Newhart' Actress, Dies" (bio) The New York Times, January 21, 2008
  12. ^ 1959 in music (this version)
  13. ^ Sondheim, Stephen, Finishing the Hat, New York: Alfred Knopf, 2010, ISBN 978-0-679-43907-3, p. 58-77
  14. ^ Roman, Lawrence (1961). "Cast (in order of appearance)". Under the yum-yum tree: a new comedy. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 
  15. ^ Toledo Blade, October 1961
  16. ^ "Dorothy Province"

External links[edit]