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Stritch mourned as a feisty, funny broad

Friday, July 18, 2014 - Updated: 6:47 AM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Elaine Stritch was more than a Broadway actress. She was a New York institution, strolling around in a fur coat, pork pie hat or oversized sunglasses. She often wore shorts and ties, or just black stockings and a white flowing shirt. Her weapon of choice was the zinger.

Stritch, who became a sort of shorthand for acting longevity since she made her Broadway debut in "Loco" in 1946, died Thursday at 89 in her home state of Michigan.

Liza Minnelli remembered her as "a true trail blazer. Her talent and spunk will be greatly missed by so many of us." Lena Dunham said on Twitter: "May your heaven be a booze-soaked, no-pants solo show at the Carlyle."

Although Stritch appeared in movies and on television, garnering three Emmys and finding new fans as Alec Baldwin's unforgiving mother on "30 Rock," she was best known for her stage work, particularly in her candid one-woman memoir, "Elaine Stritch: At Liberty," and in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Company."

In 2013, Stritch retired to Michigan after 71 years in New York City and made a series of farewell performances at the Carlyle, where she lived for a decade. A documentary released in February showed her final years, complete with forgotten lyrics, touching moments and flashes of irrational anger.

Someone asked her if she liked it. "I said I loved it, I just wish I wasn't in it," she replied.

     

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