Tony-Nominated Actress Bethel Leslie, 70, is Dead

News   Tony-Nominated Actress Bethel Leslie, 70, is Dead Bethel Leslie, the stage and film actress who earned a Best Featured Actress Tony Award nomination as the drug-addicted mother in A Long Day's Journey Into Night on Broadway in 1986, died Nov. 28 in Manhattan.

Bethel Leslie, the stage and film actress who earned a Best Featured Actress Tony Award nomination as the drug-addicted mother in A Long Day's Journey Into Night on Broadway in 1986, died Nov. 28 in Manhattan.

The 70-year-old actress had cancer, The New York Times reported.

In the revival of the Eugene O'Neill classic, Ms. Leslie played Mary Tyrone opposite Jack Lemmon, under the direction of Jonathan Miller. The production begat a 1987 British TV version with the same director and cast, including actors Kevin Spacey and Peter Gallagher.

In spring 1999 in New York, she was one of the gossipy friends in Joan Vail Thorne's gentle Southern comedy, Exact Center of the Universe, which had an extended run at Women's Project and Productions Theatre before moving to Off-Broadway's Century Theatre. Ms. Leslie was not in the transfer cast.

Off-Broadway, Ms. Leslie appeared in Amazing Grace for Blue Light Theatre Co. Her first Off-Broadway appearance was in 1988. The Times reported that she was discovered at age 15 by George Abbott, who cast her in a 1944 comedy called Snafu. She appeared in Broadway's Years Ago (1946), Goodbye, My Fancy (1948) and The Wisteria Trees (1950), among other productions. Her role in Inherit the Wind got her noticed by Hollywood and a TV and film career followed. Guest roles on "Wagon Train," "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," "The Rifleman," "The Fugitive" and other 1950s were many. Ms. Leslie was also a soap opera actress for several years and wrote for the serial, "The Secret Storm," according to The Times.

Recent film appearances were in TV's "St. Maybe" and the feature, "Message in a Bottle."

Her recent bio stated: "Nominations: Emmy, Tony, London Evening Standard, ACE. Wins: None. Still here."

-- By Kenneth Jones