Detroit’s own Broadway legend Elaine Stritch has died at 89, according to multiple news reports.
The feisty Emmy and Tony-winning actress, who was born in the Motor City, moved back to her hometown in 2013, relocating from her longtime home in New York’s Carlyle Hotel to Birmingham. That was where she died, according to the New York Times.
She got her start onstage in plays at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Detroit (now in Bloomfield Hills).
She left the Motor City for New York City, where her career was highlighted by her work with Stephen Sondheim, live appearances at the Cafe Carlyle, her one-woman show “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” and, in recent years, her role as Alec Baldwin’s cranky mother on NBC’s “30 Rock.”
Her signature songs were “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “I’m Still Here,” both from Sondheim musicals, tunes that were perfect for her ironic, tough yet secretly tender style.
She told the Free Press in 2013 that one of her most vivid memories was returning home as the star of the national production of “Call Me Madam,” a 1950 musical that she originally understudied for Ethel Merman.
Her battles with diabetes and aging were chronicled in the frank 2013 documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” which screened last year at the Traverse City Film Festival.
Stritch attended the event, where she was interviewed after the movie by Michael Moore. She was as acerbic as ever, saying of Twitter: “I don’t even know what that is and it’s a lousy title.”
She was candid when talking to the Free Press last year about coming home to a quieter life. “It’s much more difficult that I ever thought it would be,” she said.
But she strived to continue her involvement with the theater. In late April 2013, she appeared the Hilberry Theatre for a conversation with Wayne State University students.