Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Elaine Stritch (1925-2014)

Elaine Stritch (1925-2014), circa 2005
Elaine Stritch (1925-2014), circa 2005

Today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post is a bit different from any other I’ve done to date.  Instead of offering up a recommended recording, or a video, or a book, I’m prescribing a person: the indomitable Elaine Stritch (1924-2014).  Love her or not, she was like a gorilla in your boudoir: impossible to ignore.  She was one-of-a-kind and deserves to be celebrated!

Madame Stritch Nearing the End

Elaine Stritch approaching her end in 2014
Elaine Stritch approaching her end in 2014

On February 17, 2014, just five months before she passed away on July 17, 2014, at the age of 89, a wheelchair-bound Elaine Stritch appeared onstage at the 92nd Street Y (in New York City) for an interview.  Stritch’s age and infirmity meant nothing; seven particularly good one-liners from that interview are linked below:  

The Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor (born 1943) said this about her long-time friend and mentor, Elaine Stritch:

“There was always the element of danger with her, and the possibility of dying of embarrassment.” 

That there was. Stritch was, in turns, loud, domineering, irascible, volcanic, and funny as hell, a consummate entertainer who carried – and happily celebrated! – her many demons on her sleeve.  A self-professed “gravel voiced broad,” her career – which began in the 1940s – spanned nearly 70 years.  

A Very Funny Person

TV viewers best know Elaine Stritch not as a Broadway performer but as Colleen Donaghy, who was the mother of the television network executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock.  Stritch was a regular on the show from 2007 to 2012, during which she single-handedly elevated the stereotypical role of the intrusive, domineering, overbearing, guilt-inducing mother to a level that, we daresay, will never, ever, be surpassed.  The link below will take you to a 17-plus minute compilation of Elaine Stritch’s best moments as Collen Donaghy, the mother-from-hell. …

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