An actress who was a fixture on TV in the 1950s and 1960s, winning three Primetime Emmys, has died. The New York Times reports that Nanette Fabray died Thursday at her home in Palos Verdes, Calif. She was 97.
“Ms. Fabray was 28 when she received the Tony for best actress in a musical for her performance in ‘Love Life,’ a collection of sketches with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Kurt Weill,” The Times reports. “It was her seventh Broadway show and followed her success in Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s ‘High Button Shoes’ the season before. Brooks Atkinson, writing about that musical in The New York Times, had called her ‘a neatly designed show-shop ingénue with considerable crackle.’”
She won two Emmys in 1956, for Best Comedienne and for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Caesar’s Hour,” Sid Caesar’s follow-up to “Your Show of Shows.” Fabray followed up with another Emmy win in 1957, again for “Caesar’s Hour,” for Best Continuing Performance by a Comedienne in a Series.
“Ms. Fabray nearly gave her life for the show,” The Times notes. “In 1955, she was hospitalized for almost two weeks after being knocked unconscious by a falling pipe backstage during a broadcast.”
Fabray had a number of film roles, including “The Band Wagon” in 1953, but was best-known for her stage and TV work. She had a run on “Westinghouse Playhouse” in the early 1960s, and became known to a new generation of TV viewers as Grandma Katherine Romano on “One Day at a Time” from 1979-1984.
Here’s a clip of Fabray recounting her accident on the set of “Caesar’s Hour” …