Drama Desk Award Winner Pamela Payton-Wright Dies at 78

Obituaries   Drama Desk Award Winner Pamela Payton-Wright Dies at 78
 
The stage and screen star was also known for her work as Agatha "Addie" Cramer on One Life to Live.
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Pamela Payton-Wright, who won a Drama Desk Award for her performance as Lavinia Mannon in the 1972 Broadway revival of Mourning Becomes Electra, died December 14 at the age of 78.

Ms. Wright, who was born November 1, 1941, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a graduate of both Birmingham-Southern College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she received the Special Medal and the Edmund Gray Prize for High Comedy. She was crowned Miss Tuscaloosa in 1961 and was also a finalist in the Miss Alabama contest, where she performed a four-minute rendition of Peter Pan, playing all the characters.

Pamela Payton-Wright
Pamela Payton-Wright Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Ms. Wright made her Broadway debut in 1967 as Amy in George Kelly's The Show Off under the direction of Stephen Porter. Her other Main Stem credits included Exit the King, Jimmy Shine, The Crucible, All Over Town, The Glass Menagerie, Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, M. Butterfly, The Night of the Iguana, and Garden District. Her final Broadway appearance was as a replacement in the role of Mary Tyrone in the 2003 revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Her work Off-Broadway was equally prolific, with credits including The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Jesse and the Bandit Queen, The Seagull, Hamlet, The Replacement, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Richard III, 'Til the Rapture Comes, The Orphans’ Home Cycle, Duet, and The Day Emily Married. She received Obie Awards for her work in Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and Jesse and the Bandit Queen.

Ms. Wright began her television career in 1972, playing Rhonda on Corky. In 1979 she joined the cast of Another World in the role of Hazel Parker; however, she is better known for her work on the ABC soap One Life to Live as Agatha "Addie" Cramer, a role she played on and off for a 12-year period beginning in 1991. Her other television credits included PBS productions of The Prodigal, Brother to Dragons, and The Adams Chronicles, earning an Emmy nomination for her work in the last.

On the silver screen she was seen in In Dreams, The Freshman, My Little Girl, Ironweed, Starlight, Going In Style, Resurrection, and At the Dark End of the Street.

Ms. Wright is survived by her son Oliver Dickon Hedley Butler and his wife Cynthia Flowers, brother Gordon Trafford Payton Wright, sisters Brenda Payton-Wright Davies and Barbara Payton-Wright Quackenbush, and two nephews: Payton David Quackenbush and Peter Wright Quackenbush.

A memorial will be held in Brookville this spring and another in New York City for her theatre community. Contributions in celebration of her life may be made to The McKinley Health Center at Laurelbrooke Landing and Pupstarz Rescue.

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