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Beatrice Winde, a stage and screen actress and director, died Jan. 3, two days short of her 80th birthday, at her home in New York, according to friends. The cause of death was cancer. The Chicago native, born Beatrice Lucille Williams, graduated from the Chicago Music Conservatory with hopes of pursuing a singing career. She attended Yale School of Music and toured with its "Colored Choir," then came to New York to study at Juilliard.
Along the way, she began pursuing acting. Mixing acting and singing talents, Winde won the Theatre World Award and snagged a 1972 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death.
In Ain't Supposed to Die she was the woman fervently yelling, "Hey, Doro-thy...!," to her lover, incarcerated somewhere within New York City's Women's House of Detention. In 1997, Winde co-starred with actors Rip Torn and Shirley Knight in Horton Foote's The Young Man From Atlanta, at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where she earned a Joseph Jefferson Award. She and the staging transferred to Broadway.
In 1997, Winde received the National Black Theatre's Living Legend Award. Her stage credits include A Lesson Before Dying, Dreaming Emmitt, One Last Look, and performances at Negro Ensemble Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Signature Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop, Henry Street Settlement, WPA, La Mama, Arena Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Capitol Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, American Stage Company, Missouri Repertory Theatre, and elsewhere.
Her credits also include many films, such as "Mickey Blue Eyes," "The Hurricane," "Simon Birch," "The Real Blonde," "She's the One," "Lone Star," "Dangerous Minds," and the TV serial "Guiding Light."
Her theatre credits as a director include original works by playwrights Gertrude Greenridge, Steve Carter, Ed Bullins at Seattle's Black Arts West; LeBourgeois Gentilhomme at The Family Rep Inc. (also seen in Paris), Invitation to the Blues, The Dream Exchange, Zelda's Ghost Dance and Eddie 'Heartbreaker' Malone.