Connie Sawyer

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Connie Sawyer
Rosie Cohen

(1912-11-27)November 27, 1912
DiedJanuary 21, 2018(2018-01-21) (aged 105)
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Years active1930–2015
Spouse(s)Marshall Schacker

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".[1] 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....[2] At the time of her death, she was the oldest working actress in Hollywood, with a career spanning an impressive 85 years and was the oldest member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[3]

Early life[edit]

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.[4][5] Both of her parents came from the same village in Romania, but her mother arrived first in the United States.[5] When she was 7, the family moved to Oakland, California, where her father opened an army-navy store.[5][6][7][8]

Professional career[edit]

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.[7] 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.[7]

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.[7] In the 1950s she began to appear on television, including The Milton Berle Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.[9]

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.[3][7]

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.[7][9][10] 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.[7] When she turned 100, in 2012, she was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[11] 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".[3][12]


Sawyer wrote an autobiography, titled I Never Wanted to Be a Star — and I Wasn’t, describing her life in Hollywood, and self-published it in September 2017.[3][4]

Later life[edit]

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.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Sawyer was married to film distributor Marshall Schacker for ten years, later separating. They had two daughters together, Lisa and Julie.[13][7]

Sawyer suffered a heart attack[14] and later died at her home at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s retirement community in Woodland Hills, California on January 21, 2018, aged 105.[13][15][6]


Year Title Role Notes
1959 A Hole in the Head Miss Wexler [3]
1961 Ada Alice Sweet [10]
1966 The Last of the Secret Agents? Florence Uncredited[16]
For Pete's Sake
1967 The Way West Mrs. McBee [10]
1969 True Grit Talkative woman at hanging Uncredited[17]
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Waitress Uncredited
1971 Five Desperate Women Mrs. Brown TV movie[18]
1972 Evil Roy Slade Aggie Potter TV movie[19]
The Strangers in 7A Mrs. Layton TV moive[16]
1975 The Man in the Glass Booth Mrs. Levi [16]
1977 Oh, God! Mrs. Green [17]
1978 Foul Play Screaming Lady TV movie[20]
1979 Fast Break Mom [21]
...And Justice for All Gitel [22]
1984 The Rosebud Beach Hotel Carlotta [23]
1985 Hot Chili Mrs. Houston [24]
1987 Nights in White Satin Martha [25]
1989 Far From Home Viney Hunt [26]
When Harry Met Sally... Documentary Couple #2 [9]
1990 Blue Desert Elderly lady [16]
The End of Innocence Grandma
The Bonfire of the Vanities Ruskin Family member [7]
1992 The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them Waitress from Hell [27]
1994 Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes Motel Clerk TV movie[28]
Dumb and Dumber Elderly lady [10]
1995 Scorpion Spring Diner Waitress [22]
1996 It Came From Outer Space II Mrs. Otis TV movie[29]
1998 Out of Sight Old Elevator Lady [7]
Where's Marlowe? Skip's mother [22]
2002 The Trip Barbara Baxter [16]
Staring at the Sun Grace Short[30]
2003 View from the Top Grandma Stewart [22]
Something's Gotta Give Lady at the market [7]
2004 Promised Land Hazel [31]
2005 Complete Guide to Guys Senior Wife
2006 Relative Strangers Old Lady
2007 Kiss the Bride Aunt Minnie [12]
2008 Pineapple Express Faye Belogus [7]
2009 The Office Nana
2010 Watch Out for Slick Gussie [32]
2014 Lovesick Nana Bebe [17]
Entanglement Rose Short, (final film role)[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^, jon pompia The Pueblo Chieftain. "Hollywood's oldest working actress, born in Pueblo, dies at 105". Montrose Daily Press. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "Connie Sawyer Dies: Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress Was 105". Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress, Dies at 105". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Sawyer, Connie (2017). I Never Wanted to Be a Star - and I Wasn't.
  5. ^ a b c Roberts, Sam (January 31, 2018). "Connie Sawyer, Film's Oldest Working Actress, Dies at 105". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b "Rosie Cohen AKA Connie Sawyer, Oldest Working Actress in Hollywood, Dies at 105 (VIDEO)". Jewish Breaking News. January 25, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Berrin, Danielle (February 15, 2012). "Connie Sawyer: The world's eldest working actress — Jewish Journal". Jewish Journal. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Connie Sawyer: The world’s eldest working actress,; accessed January 22, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Connie Sawyer, the oldest working actress in Hollywood, dies at 105". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Staff, Legacy (January 22, 2018). "Connie Sawyer (1912 – 2018), known as Hollywood's oldest working actress". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Saunders, Emmeline (January 23, 2018). "Hollywood star Connie Sawyer dies aged 105 after glittering acting career". mirror. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress, Dies at 105".
  13. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (February 1, 2018). "Connie Sawyer, 105, Hollywood's oldest working actress". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ Quednow, Cindy von (February 1, 2018). "Connie Sawyer, Oldest Working Actress in Hollywood, Dies at 105". KTLA5.
  15. ^ Connie Sawyer, Late-Blooming Comic Actress, Dies at 105
  16. ^ a b c d e "Connie Sawyer". BFI. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c Press, Nick Thomas For the Daily. "Approaching 104, actress Connie Sawyer still eyeing roles". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  18. ^ MacFarland (2011). Television Fright Films of the 1970s. p. 67.
  19. ^ Rowan, Terry. The Kings & Queens of Hollywood Comedy. Lulu. p. 98.
  20. ^ Osborne, Robert (1979). Academy Awards Oscar Annual. p. 94.
  21. ^ "Meet the Oldest Working Member of SAG". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d "Connie Sawyer". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Johnson, Tom (2009). The Christopher Lee Filmography: All Theatrical Releases, 1948–2003. MacFarland. p. 339.
  24. ^ "Hot Chili". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "Nights in White Satin (1987) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  26. ^ "Far from Home - BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  27. ^ "The Opposite Sex And How To Live With Them". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  28. ^ Prouty (1996). Variety and Daily Variety Television Reviews, 1993-1994. Taylor and Francis.
  29. ^ Sherman, Fraser (2009). Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Made for Television. MacFarland. p. 101.
  30. ^ "eric haywood. director". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  31. ^ Bertrami, Michael (2004). Promised Land - A Film by Michael Bertrami. 57th International Film Festival, Locarno.
  32. ^ "Buy Marvin's Movie". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  33. ^ "Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress, Dies at 105". Celebrity. Retrieved January 23, 2018.

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