"I fell into theater in college. Then in 1951 I graduated, got married and fell into domesticity. I later did community theater for fun and was asked to read for an understudy role in a professional Boston theater. Instead of making me the understudy, though, they gave me the part. So I finally joined Actors’ Equity in my midfifties. I did local radio, TV commercials and plays, including the role of Lady Saltburn in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter. People whispered, “Oh, perhaps it will go to Broadway.” I thought, That is just actors dreaming. But it did, and the director called and said hold the time. I was amazed, because I had a very small part and was sure there were about five million old ladies in New York who could have done it.
"Broadway is not like regional theater. For one thing, we had the most beautifully appointed dressing rooms. I shared one with my dear friend Nancy Carroll. When we walked in, we said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” I had the sadness of losing my older daughter last September, just a few months before the show opened in New York. I know I was blessed to have her for 56 years, but she was too young and should not have died. There was a moment or two when I thought I could not stay in the play. But then I thought, She would be so disappointed if you wimped out. So I didn’t. And I’m very glad. I hope to have a new project soon. The thing I tell myself is, Do not worry about dying and getting old. Just be alive."
Originally published in the July/August 2010 issue of More.