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Marian Seldes Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Birth NameMarian Hall Seldes
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tony Award-winner Marian Hall Seldes, one of the premier stage actresses in America, was born on August 23, 1928 in Manhattan, New York, to writer and journalist Gilbert Seldes, and his socialite wife, the former Alice Wadhams Hall. Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and her mother was from an Episcopalian family with deep roots in the United States.

Marian studied drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and dance with Martha Graham. She honed her craft with the legendary Broadway diva, Katharine Cornell, with whom she appeared in the play, "That Lady", in the 1949-50 season.

Seldes, herself, taught acting at The Juilliard School from 1967 to 1991 and at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus since 2002. Her students include Oscar-winners William Hurt, Kevin Kline and Robin Williams, Emmy Award-winners Kelsey Grammer and Laura Linney, and Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone.

She made her Broadway debut, in 1948, in Robinson Jeffers' adaptation of "Medea", with acting great Judith Anderson giving a legendary performance as Euripides' scorned heroine in a production directed by John Gielgud, who also played "Jason". It began a career that lasted 59 years: She last appeared on Broadway in 2007 in Terrence McNally's "Deuce". Along the way, she was nominated for a Tony Award five times, winning on her first nod for Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (1973). Seldes has long been associated with Albee, appearing in three of his plays, starting with "Tiny Alice" in 1962. (Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Three Tall Women", which starred Seldes, did not play the Great White Way but appeared off-Broadway.)

Seldes also has had an extensive career in movies, television and radio, playing everything from Emily Brontë in the 1952 TV movie, Our Sister Emily (1952), to Lucas McCain's dead wife in The Rifleman (1958) episode, The Rifleman: The Vision (1960) in 1960, to First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt in Truman (1995) to Mr. Big's mother on Sex and the City (1998). She also has done extensive work as a radio actress, appearing on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, from 1974 to 1982.

Her first marriage to Julian Claman, by whom she had a daughter, ended in divorce in 1961. She was married to screenwriter Garson Kanin from 1990 until his death in 1999.

In 2010, Marian Seldes received a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award for her great career in the theater as befits her reputation as one of America's greatest stage performers.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Garson Kanin (19 June 1990 - 13 March 1999) ( his death)
Julian Claman (3 November 1953 - 1961) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (22)

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame (Gershwin Theatre, New York, New York, USA), 1996.
Daughter of journalist/author/editor Gilbert Seldes and niece of journalist/ George Seldes.
Daughter, Katharine Claman, was named after stage actress Katharine Cornell.
Studied acting at New York City's "Neighborhood Playhouse", under legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner.
From 1967 to 1991, she was a faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, where her students included Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Kevin Spacey, William Hurt, Robin Williams and Laura Linney.
Earned a 1967 Tony award as Best Featured Actress in Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance", and has since appeared in Albee's "Three Tall Women" and "The Play About the Baby".
Entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for appearing in "Deathtrap" from 1978 until late in 1982 without ever missing a single performance.
Seldes was frequently heard on Himan Brown's CBS Mystery Theater series on radio in the 1970s.
Nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in the revival of "Dinner at Eight." It is her fifth Tony nomination. [May 2003]
Between 1974 and 1982, she appeared in 179 episodes of the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater."
Won Broadway's 1967 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance", and has since appeared in Albee's "Three Tall Women" and "The Play About the Baby". Her Tony Award was followed with four other nominations: as Best Actress (Dramatic) in 1971 for "Father's Day", as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) in 1978 for "Deathtrap" and, in 2003, for a revival of "Dinner at Eight", and as Best Actress (Play), in 1999, for a revival of "Ring Round the Moon".
She studied at the School of American Ballet, where she studied dance with Martha Graham, and graduated from the Dalton School in New York City.
Mother of Katharine Claiman Andres, tutor at the Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut. Grandmother of Timothy Andres (born in 1986) who is a composer and pianist.
She holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for playing every performance of the play, "Deathtrap," on Broadway 1,809 for 8 shows per week for 4 years without taking a vacation or sick day.
She was awarded the 2010 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement to the Theatre.
She made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: Gunsmoke (1955) and Law & Order (1990).
Central Park South, New York City [June 2010]
Teaching at Fordham University, Lincoln Center. [September 2002]
Opening in limited engagement on Broadway, with Angela Lansbury, in "Deuce" by Terence McNally, in April. [February 2007]
Her ashes were sprinkled within the Catskill Mountains.
She was awarded the 1996 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Leading Actress for "Three Tall Women" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Learned, Christina Rouner and she were awarded the 1996 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for "Three Tall Women" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Personal Quotes (5)

[on her appearance] I've never been obsessed by how I looked. In fact, I would rather have looked more ordinary so I could play more parts truthfully. You know what I'm saying?
On her relationship with Garson Kanin: Well, darling, if you're unhappy in a relationship, I think you just don't trust yourself for getting into another one. Garson gave me confidence. He made me feel gifted and strong. He was so kind and thoughtful, so funny. He used to say to me, if people weren't in the best of condition, he would say 'Damaged goods'. I always thought that was funny. Now when people say, 'How are you?' I say, 'I'm damaged goods'. And I am. But Garson approved of me, and I knew I could help him, too. At the end of his life, I know I did. I loved taking care of him. I took care of my father when he was dying, so I had rehearsed that in an odd way.
[on her greatest achievement besides acting]: Maybe the teaching. I hope so. Because that's helping somebody. It was the hardest thing too, because it takes an energy. If you look away from a student's eyes at the wrong moment, you can hurt them.
[on her shoulder in 2010]: I wasn't used to pain. Except for having my daughter I've never been in a hospital. I've always had very good stamina and counted on never losing it. But I think I'm going to regain it. This award makes me feel optimistic about it.
[on her 2010 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theater]: Yes, utterly. All I've done is live my life in the theater and loved it. If you can get an award for being happy, that's what I've got.

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