Ms. Skinner, who played the role of Miss Poppenghul, the secretary of movie mogul David O. Selznick, in the still-running Manhattan Theatre Club production of Ron Hutchinson's comedy, was found dead in her apartment April 11. A doctor determined she had a heart attack and probably died in her sleep.
A memorial service is being planned for May. Additionally, her family will also be establishing a scholarship in her honor.
Skinner was the only female member of the four-hander's cast. The play depicted a fanciful version of how the script for "Gone With the Wind" was created, with Selznick locking screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming in his office for a week, with Miss Poppenghul standing guard outside, coming in only to bring in bananas and peanuts for sustenance. Skinner's comic performance, in which she found a dozen ways to say "Yes, Mr. Selznick," was popular with audiences and critics. According to Ms. Skinner's agent, at her final performance on April 10, the actress received exit applause—a rarity for a supporting role of Poppenghul's size.
Ms. Skinner acted in the national tour of Titanic and pre-Broadway tour of I Never Sang for My Father. Her Off-Broadway credits included The Perfect Party and The Dining Room, both at Playwrights Horizons, and the original production of Craig Lucas' Blue Window, in which she created the role of the lesbian novelist Alice. She also acted regionally, recently at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, where she played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to Tracy Letts' George. She also acted at The Guthrie in Minneapolis (Ah, Wilderness!), the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles (Quills), Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse (Scotland Road), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival (Johnny on the Spot) and Pittsburgh Public (Private Lives). She spent eight years as Trinity Square in Providence (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Night of the Iguana, Rosmersholm).
Born Jan. 3, 1950, in Middletown, Ohio, she was trained at Boston University.
Skinner's understudy, Karen Trott, has assumed the role of Miss Poppenghul.