Patricia Elliott, Tony-Winning Actress for A Little Night Music, Dies at 77

Obituaries   Patricia Elliott, Tony-Winning Actress for A Little Night Music, Dies at 77
 
Patricia Elliott, a stage actress who won a Tony Award in 1973 for her portrayal as the comically embittered Countess Charlotte Malcolm in the original production of the Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical, A Little Night Music, died on Dec. 20 at her home in Manhattan.
Patricia Elliott
Patricia Elliott

The cause of death was a rare cancer, Leimyloma sarcoma, said her niece, Sally Fay. She was 77.

Patricia Elliott
Patricia Elliott

Of her performance in A Little Night Music, critic Walter Kerr wrote in The New York Times, "She curses her husband roundly, meddles in everyone’s affairs in hopes of making them all as miserable as she, drawls out an aghast, echoing, incredulous 'Happy?' as someone says he is happy to make her acquaintance. Only an idiot would be happy to know her, and she knows it."

She also won a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award for her work in the show.

In 1977, she was nominated for a Tony Award one again, this time for her performance in the original Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Shadow Box. The following year, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in a revival of Tartuffe at Circle in the Square.

On television, Ms. Elliott played Renee Divine Buchanan on the ABC daytime drama, "One Life to Live" for 23 years, from 1988 to 2011. She also starred in 69 episodes of the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" series from 1974 through 1982. Patricia Elliott was born in Gunnison, Colorado, on July 21, 1938, to Clyde Porterfield Elliott and the former Lavon Lucille Gibson. She was a direct descendant of Civil War general and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Ms. Elliott graduated from the University of Colorado in 1960, with a degree in English Literature. She went on to study at the London (England) Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

She began her career working in repertory, at the Cleveland Playhouse and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. She moved to New York in 1968. Soon, she was playing the role of Regan opposite Lee J. Cobb in a Lincoln Center production of the tragedy King Lear. Her other early Broadway roles were also in classics, including King Henry V, A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler.

Ms. Elliott’s off-Broadway credits include The Prince of Homburg, Misalliance, The Voice of the Turtle, Love Letters, Durang/Durang, Vita & Virginia and the Leonard Bernstein musical revue, By Bernstein.

Ms. Elliott’s 1960 marriage to Christopher Vivien Hawthorne Fay ended in divorce in 1962. In addition to her niece, Sally Fay, she is survived by an aunt, Claudine Walker, and several cousins.

In 2015, Ms. Elliott established the Patricia Elliott Theatre Scholarship at her alma mater, the University of Colorado.

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