Shirley Stoler

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Shirley Stoler
Born (1929-03-30)March 30, 1929
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 17, 1999(1999-02-17) (aged 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1970 – 1999

Shirley Stoler (March 30, 1929 – February 17, 1999) was an American actress best known for her roles in The Honeymoon Killers and Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties.

Early Years[edit]

Born to Polish immigrants on March 30, 1929, the Brooklynese Shirley Stoler made her stage debut in 1955 and gained experience as a member of New York's experimental La Mama and Living Theatre companies. She had become a key underground player by the time she earned film infamy in 1970 at age 41.

Film & TV Career[edit]

Throughout her career, Stoler was large and often played villainesses (such as in The Honeymoon Killers and on TV in an episode of Charlie's Angels) whose scariness often derived from Stoler's physical strength and size. A character actress as well as an occasional lead, Stoler appeared in small roles in classic films including Klute, The Deer Hunter, and Desperately Seeking Susan.

The highlight of her film career arguably was her turn as the repulsive Nazi female prison commandant in Lina Wertmüller's Pasqualino Settebellezze (1975) (Seven Beauties), in which she plays a cat and mouse game of seduction with the concentration camp inmate played by Giancarlo Giannini. Though a profile of Stoler was featured on the front page of the New York Times Arts section, her performance was ignored during the awards season, likely because her dialogue had to be dubbed into Italian. The film, the success of which depended a great deal on her, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1976, and garnered Wertmüller nominations as Best Director (a first for a woman) and Best Original Screenplay, and Stoler's co-star Giannini a nod as Best Actor.

Stoler also appeared on Broadway and in the daytime soap operas The Edge of Night as Frankie and One Life to Live as Roberta (nicknamed "Tiny," as well as Saturday morning television, playing the role of Mrs. Steve on Pee-wee's Playhouse.


Stoler lived in Manhattan until her death from heart failure at the age of 69.[1] For almost her entire career, Shirley Stoler kept an apartment at 308 W. 17th St, just West of 8th Avenue.


Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Honeymoon Killers Martha Beck
1971 Klute Momma Reese
1975 Pasqualino Settebellezze Commandant English title: Seven Beauties
1976 A Real Young Girl Grocer in Aupom French title: Une vraie jeune fille
1978 The Deer Hunter Steven's Mother
1979 Charlie's Angels Big Aggie Episode: "Caged Angel"
1980 Skag Dottie Jessup 5 episodes
1980 Seed of Innocence Corky Alternative title: Teen Mothers
1980 Below the Belt Trish
1980 The Edge of Night Frankie Unknown episodes
1981 Second-Hand Hearts Maxy
1983 The Brass Ring Marge Television movie
1983 Bring 'Em Back Alive Episode: "The Shadow Women of Chung Tai"
1983 The Powers of Matthew Star Tattoo Artist Episode: "The Quadrian Caper"
1984 A Stroke of Genius
1984 Splitz Dean Hunta
1985 Desperately Seeking Susan Jail matron
1985 Brass Woman in window Television movie
1986 to 1987 Pee-wee's Playhouse Mrs. Steve 4 episodes
1986 to 1987 One Life to Live Roberta "Tiny" Coleman Unknown episodes
1987 Three O'Clock High Eva
1988 Shakedown Irma
1988 Sticky Fingers Reeba
1989 Kate & Allie Episode: "Wanted: One Husband"
1989 In the Heat of the Night Adah Boone Episode: "The Pig Woman of Sparta"
1990 Miami Blues Edie Wulgemuth
1990 Frankenhooker Spike the Bartender
1990 Sons German housewife
1991 Law & Order Charlie Maylen Episode: "Misconception"
1992 Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers Grace
1992 Mac Customer
1992 Malcolm X Mrs. Swerlin
1993 Me and Veronica Shouting Woman
1997 The Deli Irma


  1. ^ "Shirley Stoler, 69, Actress Hailed For Her Role in 'Seven Beauties'". The New York Times. 1999-02-28. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 

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