The Outer Critics Circle was founded in 1949 and first handed out awards the following year. OCC awards recognize both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions and are typically one of the first set of nominations to be announced during the spring theatre award season.
Ms. Gunner was the president of the OCC for 25 years, from 1979-2004. As a theatre critic and reporter, she started writing for Manhattan’s Town and Village newspaper in 1966, the year she lost her husband, and continued to write for The Italian Tribune, The Bronx Home News, Culvert Chronicles and New Jersey’s The Ridgewood News.
Ms. Gunner was dedicated to the OCC. In 1996, when she heard that actress Rosalyn Coleman—who, as part of the Broadway cast of August Wilson's Seven Guitars had received an OCC Award for Outstanding Ensemble Acting—had lost the scroll in a fire, she arranged to have a new scroll delivered to her dressing room.
In 2005, a Special Achievement Award was given to Ms. Gunner for her service to the Outer Critics Circle.
She was born March 29, 1922, in New York City. She graduated from the Julia Richman High School and attended Cornell University, where she directed plays and acted on radio shows. She received her diploma from New York University with a major in Drama. She was one of the first seven women admitted as members to the Friars Club in 1988.
She was predeceased by her husband, Morris Gunner, who died in 1966. She is survived by her daughters, Holly and Rochelle Gunner. Funeral services will be held at 11:15 AM on Sept. 24 at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W. 76th Street. Following the burial, there will be a reception at Sardi's from 4:30-6:30 PM.