Seldes, a Broadway baby from 1947's Medea to 2008's Deuce, was given a Lifetime Achievement Tony on June 13. The special award had been pre-announced and was not a surprise, but there was also a real surprise for Seldes on Tony weekend: The day before the Tony ceremony, at a June 12 afternoon cocktail party for the 2010 nominees and honorary winners, Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, described Seldes as "an extraordinary woman, both on and off the stage." He added, "One of the many, many things that Marian is known and loved for being in this community is the consummate hostess. However, apparently, at some time, years ago, she had someone who was not a most-accomplished guest, and, as a result, her Tony Award for A Delicate Balance disappeared one evening."
He paused for a "eureka!" moment, then produced a brand-new Tony for A Delicate Balance. "We thought it appropriate to take this moment to replace it," he said.
Seldes, a creature of the theatre if ever there was one, was profoundly touched by the gesture — much like someone who had quietly suffered this loss for a long time.
A fifth of Seldes' 25 Broadway credits have produced Tony nominations — and one of those five earned her the Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Delicate Balance in 1967.
Sherman quickly pointed out that there were no more replacement Tonys where that came from. "For those of you who like to have extra Tonys for your parents, your children, your agent — this excuse is rarely accepted," Sherman said, adding, "but, for Marian, anything…."