Julie Harris dies from congestive heart failure aged 87
Actress Julie Harris died Saturday at her West Chatham, Massachusetts home at the age of 87.
The cause of Julie Harris’ death was congestive heart failure, according to the Associated Press.
Julie Harris was renowned first and foremost for her work on Broadway, and the actress garnered an unprecedented five Tony Awards for best actress in a play.
Her accolades came for a wide array of roles, including First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, Hamlet’s Ophelia and Joan of Arc.
Julie Harris debuted on Broadway in 1945 in It’s A Gift, and though the play didn’t last long, it was an auspicious beginning for the young actress.
At the age of 24, Julie Harris thrilled critics as the lonely teenager Frankie in 1950′s The Member Of The Wedding, inspiring The New York Times to declare that she was “extraordinary – vibrant, full of anguish and elation”, according to the AP.
Just five years later, Julie Harris won her first Tony for portraying Sally Bowles in I Am A Camera.
It didn’t take long for her to win a second Tony, this time for her performance as Joan of Arc in 1955 Broadway production of The Lark.
More Tonys came for her work on French comedy Forty Carats, period piece The Last Of Mrs. Lincoln and The Belle Of Amherst; the audio recording on Amherst led to a Grammy Award, as well.
Julie Harris also was a brilliant film actress, and her 1952 screen debut – reprising her role in an adaptation of The Member Of The Wedding – resulted in an Oscar nomination for best actress.
Fitting considering her sheer talent, Julie Harris starred opposite other film legends of the era, including James Dean on Elia Kazan’s East Of Eden and Paul Newman on Harper.
And she impacted the small screen as well, most memorably starring as a Southern belle in the 1980s soap opera Knots Landing.
She also won three Emmys for other roles, including as Queen Victoria on the Hallmark Hall Of Fame production of Victoria Regina.
Julie Harris was born on December 2, 1925 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, where she was raised by a father who was an investment banker and a mother who worked as a nurse.
Her stage debut came at age 14, when she performed in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame at the Grosse Point County Day School, according to the AP.
That start inspired her to pursue acting for the rest of her life: She continued to study the craft at Yale University and, later, the Actor’s Studio.
Julie Harris’ last accolades came in the form of a life-achievement Tony in 2002 and Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.
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