Pleshette, Suzanne 1937-2008

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Pleshette, Suzanne 1937-2008


Born January 31, 1937, in New York City, NY; died of respiratory failure, January 19, 2008, in Los Angeles, CA. Actress. With a career spanning nearly fifty years, Pleshette earned critical acclaim on Broadway and in television and films. The daughter of a New York theatre manager and a former dancer, Pleshette graduated from New York City's High School of the Performing Arts, studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and acted on Broadway, all by the age of twenty. Her dark good looks and husky voice made Pleshette seem older than her years and made her a natural for more unconventional roles. Pleshette's Broadway debut in 1957 was a bit part in the play Compulsion, in which she eventually took over a starring role during the theatrical run. In the same year, Pleshette also debuted on television with a role in an episode of the crime series Harbourmaster. She was then cast opposite Jerry Lewis in the 1958 comedy film The Geisha Boy. Pleshette starred with teen heartthrob Troy Donahue in the 1962 film Rome Adventure, which earned her a following with teenage audiences. Pleshette and Donahue made one more movie together before eventually marrying; the marriage lasted only eight months. In 1962 she was back on Broadway, replacing Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan in the hit play The Miracle Worker. Pleshette's best-known film role came in 1963, when she played a pretty schoolteacher who was pecked to death in director Alfred Hitchock's classic The Birds. Pleshette never stopped working, performing in a string of movies, including Fate Is the Hunter, A Rage to Live, Youngblood Hawke, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, A Distant Trumpet, and The Shaggy D.A. In 1972 Pleshette was cast in The Bob Newhart Show, a role that made her a household name. As Bob's wife, Emily Hartley, Pleshette was smart, confident, and sexy—nothing like the traditional television housewife. During the show's six-year run, Pleshette was twice nominated for an Emmy Award and helped to redefine the stereotype of a wife on television. After The Bob Newhart Show ended, Pleshette continued to work in television, starring in the short-lived series Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs and with Hal Linden in The Boys Are Back and in numerous guest spots on shows that included Will & Grace, Good Morning Miami, and 8 Simple RulesFor Dating My Teenage Daughter. In addition to her mar- riage to Donahue, Pleshette was married to businessman Tim Gallagher from 1968 until his death in 2000, and to comic actor Tom Poston from 2001 until his death in 2007. Pleshette was treated for lung cancer in 2006.


New York Times, January 21, 2008.

Time, January 20, 2008.

Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2008.