Shelley Plimpton

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Shelley Plimpton
Putney Swope promotional image - Shelley Plimpton.jpg
Plimpton in Putney Swope (1969)
Born (1947-02-27) February 27, 1947 (age 72)
ResidenceOregon, U.S.[1]
EducationWashington Irving High School (New York City)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1969–1986
Steve Curry
(m. 1970; div. 1971)

Daniel Sullivan
(m. 1990; div. 1997)
ChildrenMartha Plimpton

Shelley Plimpton (born February 27, 1947) is an American former actress and Broadway performer. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of Crissy in the off-Broadway production of Hair, a role she resumed when the production moved to Broadway in 1968. She is the mother of actress Martha Plimpton.

Early life[edit]

Plimpton was born and raised in Roseburg, Oregon,[2] to an Episcopalian family.[3] Her father, William Sherman Plimpton, a native of Portland and graduate of the University of Washington, operated an auto parts store in Roseburg,[4] while her mother worked as a researcher.[3] She had one brother, Sherman Jr.[4] She is a "very distant" cousin of writer George Plimpton.[3] Her parents divorced when she was five years old,[3] and her father died of cancer, aged 50, when Plimpton was twelve years old.[5]

When Plimpton was fourteen, she relocated with her mother from Roseburg to New York City, where her mother took a job working as a researcher for a Manhattan fertility doctor.[3] She and her mother moved into an apartment in Greenwich Village, and Plimpton attended Washington Irving High School in Gramercy Park, Manhattan.[3] After graduating, she worked as a cashier in a nightclub.[3]


Plimpton's acting career spanned from the mid-1960s to the late-1980s. She created the role of "Crissy" in the original 1967 Off-Broadway production of Hair, and continued the role as a member of the original Broadway cast when the production moved to Broadway in 1968.[3] In both productions, she sang the song "Frank Mills". Plimpton took a leave of absence from Hair to appear in Arlo Guthrie's film Alice's Restaurant, playing a 14-year-old who offers herself to Arlo, saying that she has already "made it" with several other musicians and "you'll probably be an album some day." He gently rejects her advances, giving her his bandanna as a souvenir and saying simply, "I just don't want to catch your cold".[6] Plimpton also appeared in the 1969 Robert Downey, Sr., film Putney Swope opposite Ronnie Dyson as one half of an interracial college couple ("It started last weekend at the Yale-Howard game") in a satire of a pimple cream TV spot.[3] In 1971, Plimpton appeared in Jim McBride's post-apocalyptic drama film, Glen and Randa, in which she portrays Randa, a young woman part of a group of scavengers who survived a nuclear apocalypse many years prior and sets off with her lover Glen (Steve Curry) to discover a ravaged world and to search for a city which Glen has seen in comic books. She worked with McBride once again when she was cast in the 1974 comedy film Hot Times. Her final film role was in the 1975 film Forplay.

Plimpton made a brief return to acting in 1986 when she made a guest appearance on the short-lived television sitcom Throb, which starred Diana Canova, Paul Walker and Jane Leeves, after which she retired from acting.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1970, Plimpton gave birth to Martha Plimpton (whose father is Keith Carradine) in New York City, where she raised her in Manhattan's Upper West Side.[7] From 1970 to 1971, Plimpton was married to Steve Curry. From 1990 to 1997, she was married to theatre director Daniel Sullivan (who worked as an assistant director on Hair, and later directed the Seattle Repertory Theater).[7]

In 2002, it was reported that Plimpton was living in Seattle, Washington, working a day job at a gift center.[8] In September 2017, Vanity Fair reported that she resided in her native Oregon.[1]


Title Year Role Notes
Putney Swope
Face Off Girl
Directed by Robert Downey, Sr.
Alice's Restaurant
Directed by Arthur Penn
Unnamed role
Short film - directed by Robert Deubel
Glen and Randa
Directed by Jim McBride
Hot Times
Directed by Jim McBride
First Girl
Directed by John G. Avildsen, Bruce Malmuth, Robert McCarthy & Ralph Rosenblum
Season 1, Episode 3 – "Getting to Know You"

Stage credits[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Hair 1968–72 Crissy Broadway (The Biltmore Theatre)[9]


  1. ^ a b Weller, Sheila (September 28, 2017). "When the Sun Shone In: Remembering Hair at 50". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Wilson, Kimberly A.C. (July 6, 2012). "Where the boogeyman lived: Tracing Adam Brown back to a quiet street in Roseburg". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Klemesrud, Judy (September 13, 1970). "Shelley Plimpton: From 'Hair' to Maternity". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Sherman Plimpton". The News-Review. Obituaries. Roseburg, Oregon. November 7, 1959. p. 2 – via open access
  5. ^ Fields, Sidney (September 2, 1970). "Player in a Waiting Game". New York Daily News. p. 56 – via open access
  6. ^ Brode, Douglas (1980). The Films of the Sixties. New York: Citadel Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-806-50694-4.
  7. ^ a b c Richards, David (April 25, 1993). "LIGHTING A CANDLE FOR 'HAIR' AT 25: SHELLEY PLIMPTON; 'It Makes Me Feel Good to Know I Contributed to the World'". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Paynter, Susan (April 7, 2002). "Memories of '68 and the many sides of 'Hair'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "Hair Broadway @ Biltmore Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved April 5, 2018.

External links[edit]