Tony Award Winner and American Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee Marian Seldes Has Died
Seldes won a 1967 Best Featured Actress in a Play Tony for her role in the Broadway premiere of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance.
Marian Seldes, the Tony Award-winning actress and teacher whose career on Broadway spanned 60 years, has died after an extended illness at the age of 86, her brother, Timothy Seldes, confirmed.
Seldes made her Broadway debut in 1947 with a walk-on role in Broadway's Medea, starring Judith Anderson. In her first years performing, she also appeared on Broadway stages alongside the likes of Katherine Cornell (That Lady), John Gielgud (Crime and Punishment), and Alfred Lunt (Ondine). Other notable stage credits have included 1967's A Delicate Balance, for which she won a Tony, Father's Day, Deathtrap, Ivanov, Ring Round the Moon, and Dinner at Eight. In 2010, Seldes received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The daughter of Alice "Amanda" Wadhams (Hall) and noted author and critic Gilbert Seldes, Marian Seldes was born on August 23, 1928, in New York City. She and her siblings studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. In 1953 Seldes married the actor Julian Claman, with whom she had one daughter, Katharine, before the couple divorced in 1961. In 1990, she married writer and director Garson Kanin. The marriage lasted until his death in 1999.
From 1969-1991, Seldes acted and taught at the Juilliard School, where her students included Kevin Spacey, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Patti LuPone, Laura Linney, Robin Williams, and more. She authored two books, Bright Lights and Time Together, and was called the "most durable actress" in the Guinness Book of World Records for appearing in every one of the 1,809 Broadway performances of Ira Levin's Deathtrap.
Seldes' work in film has included roles in The Greatest Story Ever Told, Truman, The Haunting, Mona Lisa Smile, August Rush, The Extra Man, and many others. In 2011, she played Mabel Billingsly in a film adaptation of Wendy Mass's popular children's book Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.
Seldes is survived by her daughter Katharine Claman Andres (Clay), as well as several grandsons, nieces, and nephews. She requested no funeral or memorial services. Donations in her honor can be made to the Marian Seldes Drama Scholarship at The Juilliard School.