Irene Dailey, of Broadway's The Subject Was Roses, Dead at 88

Obituaries   Irene Dailey, of Broadway's The Subject Was Roses, Dead at 88 Irene Dailey, the actress who created the role of the unhappily married wife in The Subject Was Roses on Broadway, and later found success in soap operas, died of colon cancer Sept. 24 in Santa Rosa, CA, according to The New York Times. She was 88.
Irene Dailey with Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen in The Subject Was Roses
Irene Dailey with Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen in The Subject Was Roses

She played Nettie Cleary, welcoming home her veteran son in the 1964 Tony Award-winning Subject Was Roses, by Frank D. Gilroy. Jack Albertson played her husband, and Martin Sheen played her son in the three-character drama. Ms. Dailey played matriarch Liz Matthews on TV's "Another World" for many years. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in 1979.

Her TV credits also included "The Edge of Night" and guest spots on "Ben Casey," "Dr. Kildare," "The Twilight Zone" and many other programs. Her film work includes roles in "No Way to Treat a Lady," "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Amityville Horror."

Ms. Dailey was born in New York City. Her brother, Dan, became a Hollywood star. She began her career when she was a child, dancing in vaudeville. Before The Subject Was Roses, she was in a string of flop shows (among them were Nine Girls, Andorra, Springtime Folly, Truckline Café and Miss Lonelyhearts).

According to the Times, the actress ran a lampshade store and worked as a waitress in between acting jobs.

In 1960 she appeared in Tomorrow — With Pictures, in London, and got solid reviews for playing an American trying to take over a British newspaper empire.

Ms. Dailey was a 1966 Drama Desk Award winner for her performance in Off-Broadway's Rooms. Other Off-Broadway credits include Edith Stein, Rio Grande and a Phoenix Theatre production of The Good Woman of Setzuan.

Her last Broadway appearance was in a 1996 Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Father starring Frank Langella. She was also a standby for Irene Worth as Grandma Kurnitz in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. She was also a replacement in the Broadway run of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.