Doris Belack, Veteran Stage Actress, Dies at 85

Obituaries   Doris Belack, Veteran Stage Actress, Dies at 85
 
Doris Belack, a film and stage actress with decades of credits, died Oct. 4. She was 85. Ms. Belack's longtime husband, producer Philip Rose, died on May 31. They had been married for 65 years.

Ms. Belack made her Broadway debut in Semi-Detached, a 1960 play produced by her intrepid husband, who often backed long-shot propositions. (He made his name as the novice producer of A Raisin in the Sun.) Many of her subsequent Broadway appearances were also in Rose outings, including The Heroine (1963), Nathan Weinstein, Mystic, Connecticut (1966), The Ninety Day Mistress (1967) and The Cemetery Club (1990). Other Broadway credits included standby and understudy assignments in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bad Habits and Cheaters.

With her long, saturnine face and hard dark eyes, Ms. Belack was adept at portraying tough, skeptical characters, often with an edge of humor. She deployed these charms most memorably as the tough-minded producer Rita Marshall, who unknowingly gives Dustin Hoffman a job playing a woman on a soap opera in the classic comedy "Tootsie."

Born Feb. 26, 1926, in New York City, to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Ms. Belack met her husband at a summer stock company. She got most of her early work in soap operas. She was the original Anna Wolek Craig on "One Life to Live." She played the lead role of a captain of an undercover anticrime unit of the NYPD in the short-lived television sitcom called "Baker's Dozen." She guest starred on an episode of "The Golden Girls" as Dorothy's sister Gloria, and was Judge Margaret Barry, a recurring character on "Law & Order" from 1990 to 2001. Her last television appearance was on a 2003 episode of "Sex and the City."

Off-Broadway credits included The Right Kind of People, Surviving Grace, Emerald City, Letters Home and P.S. 193, as well as many one-act plays at Ensemble Studio Theatre.

An open-to-the-public joint public memorial for the late couple will be held at New York's Ambassador Theatre on Oct. 17.

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