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Doris Belack in 1990
February 26, 1926|
New York City
|Died||October 4, 2011
New York City
|Cause of death||Cervical cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Philip Rose (1946–2011)|
Doris Belack (February 26, 1926 – October 4, 2011) was an American character actress of stage, film and television.
Life and career
Belack was born in 1926 in New York City, the younger daughter of Isaac and Bertha Belack, Jewish immigrants from Russia. She had one sibling, an older sister. In 1955, she performed on the record Poetry of the Negro with Sidney Poitier. The record was produced by her husband, Philip Rose.
Belack has been misidentified as the first "Mrs. Fish" to Abe Vigoda's character on Barney Miller. She was actually only a one episode replacement for actress Florence Stanley, who played "Mrs. Fish" ("Bernice Fish"). Before that, Belack was seen mainly in soap operas; she originated the role of Anna Wolek Craig for nearly a decade on One Life to Live. She also appeared in Another World (three different roles over the show's 35-year run), The Doctors (1980, as psychiatrist Dr. Claudia Howard) and The Edge of Night (1981, as Beth Bryson who held Nancy Karr hostage). Later in the 1980s, she had the recurring role of Pine Valley's mayor on All My Children.
She played the formidable soap opera producer Rita Marshall in the 1982 comedy film Tootsie, which starred Dustin Hoffman. Her other film credits included roles in Fast Forward (1985), Batteries Not Included (1987), Splash, Too (1988), She-Devil (1989), Opportunity Knocks (1990), What About Bob? (1991), Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. (1994), Krippendorf's Tribe (1998), The Odd Couple II (1998) and Fail Safe (2000).
Belack played the lead role in the short-lived television sitcom called Baker's Dozen as "Florence Baker", the no-nonsense captain of an undercover anti-crime unit of the NYPD. The show lasted a month on CBS. She guest starred on an episode of The Golden Girls in 1985 as Dorothy Zbornak's sister, Gloria.
From 1990 to 2001, she played tough, sharp-tongued Judge Margaret Barry, a recurring role on Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She also played Maureen McReary in Grand Theft Auto IV and provided the voices of Mrs. Dink and Mrs. Wingo in the Nickelodeon show Doug. Her last television appearance was on a 2003 episode of Sex and the City.
- Vitello, Paul (October 9, 2011). "Doris Belack, Judge on TV's 'Law & Order', Dies at 85". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
Doris Belack, a veteran stage, television and screen actress best known for her roles as a no-nonsense judge on "Law & Order" and as the peeved soap opera producer in "Tootsie" died on Tuesday in New York. She was 85.
- Philip Rose obituary, Variety.com; accessed July 15, 2017.