November 27, 1912
Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
January 21, 2018 (aged 105)|
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
Connie Sawyer (born Rosie Cohen; November 27, 1912 – January 21, 2018) was an American stage, film, and television actress, affectionately nicknamed "The Clown Princess of Comedy". She had over 140 film and television credits to her name, but was best known for her appearances in Pineapple Express, Dumb and Dumber, and When Harry Met Sally.... At the time of her death, she was the oldest working actress in Hollywood and oldest member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Connie Sawyer was born on November 27, 1912, in Pueblo, Colorado, to Orthodox Jewish parents. Her father, Samuel Cohen, was an immigrant from Romania, and her mother, Dora Inger, also from Romania, had been living in Denver, Colorado, until their marriage. Both of her parents came from the same village in Romania, but her mother arrived first in the United States. When she was 7, the family moved to Oakland, California, where her father opened an army-navy store.
Sawyer's mother loved showbusiness and encouraged Sawyer to learn singing and dancing, and entered her into talent competitions as a child. In her first competition, a song and dance routine, at the age of 8, she won third prize and was given a stack of pies. She attended Roosevelt High School in Oakland and was the first woman to be senior class president. Following graduation, Sawyer won a radio contest (first place this time) which came with a chance to perform on a radio variety show in San Francisco titled “Al Pearce and His Gang,” a show which gave her the opportunity to develop her own comedy routine.
At the age of 19, Sawyer moved to New York and performed in nightclubs and vaudeville theaters. Sawyer and a few friends worked their way across the country (literally), staying in each city along the way and performing for several weeks. Once in New York she met Sophie Tucker, who connected Sawyer with a comedy writer, and she began to travel with her show. In the 1950s she began to appear on television, including The Milton Berle Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.
In the late 1950s, agent Lillian Small, who worked for Frank Sinatra, saw Sawyer in the Broadway show A Hole in the Head as the character Miss Wexler. Sinatra later optioned the rights for a film version and hired Sawyer to repeat her role in the 1959 film production, which also starred Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, and Eleanor Parker.
She continued to appear regularly on television, in such series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laverne & Shirley, The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Will & Grace, Welcome Back, Kotter, ER, How I Met Your Mother, and Ray Donovan. In 2007 Sawyer appeared in the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me with Jane Alexander, however later expressed regret as she considered the show to be pornographic. When she turned 100, in 2012, she was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2012 she appeared on 2 Broke Girls, in 2013 she appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles and in 2014 she appeared opposite Zooey Deschanel in New Girl as "the Oldest Woman in the World".
For 12 years Sawyer lived at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s residential complex for entertainment industry retirees in Los Angeles, where she remained an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, continuing to watch all Oscar-nominated films before placing her votes each year.
|1959||A Hole in the Head||Miss Wexler|||
|1966||The Last of the Secret Agents?||Florence|||
|1967||The Way West||Mrs. McBee|||
|1969||True Grit||Talkative woman at hanging|||
|1971||Five Desperate Women||Mrs. Brown|||
|1972||Evil Roy Slade||Aggie Potter|||
|The Strangers in 7A||Mrs. Layton|||
|1975||The Man in the Glass Booth||Mrs. Levi|||
|1977||Oh, God!||Mrs. Green|||
|1978||Foul Play||Screaming Lady|||
|...And Justice for All||Gitel|||
|1984||The Rosebud Beach Hotel||Carlotta|||
|1985||Hot Chili||Mrs. Houston|||
|1987||Nights in White Satin||Ruth|||
|1989||When Harry Met Sally...||Documentary Couple|||
|Far From Home||Viney Hunt|||
|1990||The Bonfire of the Vanities||Ruskin Family member|||
|1991||Blue Desert||Elderly lady|||
|1993||The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them||Waitress from Hell|||
|1994||Dumb and Dumber||Elderly lady|||
|Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes|||
|1995||It Came From Outer Space II||Mrs. Otis|||
|1997||Scorpion Spring||Diner waitress|||
|1998||Out of Sight|||
|1999||Where's Marlowe?||Skip's mother|||
|2002||The Trip||Barbara Baxter|||
|Staring at the Sun||Grace|||
|2003||View from the Top||Grandma Stewart|||
|Something's Gotta Give||Lady at the market|||
|2007||Kiss the Bride||Aunt Minnie|||
|2008||Pineapple Express||Faye Belogus|||
|2010||Watch Out for Slick||Gussie|||
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