Bovasso in 1956
|Born||Julia Anne Bovasso
August 1, 1930
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Died||September 14, 1991
New York City, New York, United States
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Spouse(s)||George Earl Ortman|
Life and career
Bovasso appeared in many films, including Saturday Night Fever (1977) as John Travolta's mother, and repeated the role in the 1983 sequel Staying Alive. She also appeared in Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), Willie & Phil (1980), The Verdict (1982), Daniel (1983), Off Beat (1986), Wise Guys (1986), Moonstruck (1987), Betsy's Wedding (1990) and My Blue Heaven (1990).
However, off-Broadway she wrote and appeared in avant-garde material, such as Jean Genet's The Maids, for which she won the very first Best Actress Obie (Off-Broadway) Award in 1956, which was presented to her by Shelley Winters.
In the mid-1950s, Bovasso established the experimental Tempo Playhouse on 8th Street/St. Marks Place in Manhattan and introduced works of the Theater of the Absurd, including those of the playwrights Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco and Michel de Ghelderode, to the professional theater in the United States.
In addition to her work as a director and actor, her playwriting credits include the four-hour play Gloria and Esperanza, which Village Voice theatre critic Jerry Tallmer described as "a miracle, a mythopoetic fireworks display." A sought-after acting coach, Bovasso was known as an exacting instructor and her private New York workshops regularly included prominent performers. As per the DVD commentary, Bovasso coached both Cher and Olympia Dukakis on their Brooklyn accents in the film Moonstruck.
In her earlier acting days, she played Rose Corelli Fraser in the short-lived soap opera, From These Roots. She was subsequently fired from that show, due to a disagreement with producers.
Selected theatrical credits
- "Julie Bovasso". Filmreference.com.
- LaGumina, Salvatore (2000). The Italian-American Experience: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.
- The New York Times
- Bottoms, Stephen J. Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-off-Broadway Movement. Google Books.
- The Village Voice
- "Gloria and Esperanza". Playbill.
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