Vera Lockwood, the actress playing the solid Italian-American grandmother in Off-Broadway's Over the River and Through the Woods, died of natural causes July 28 at her North Bergen, NJ, home.
In the warm Off-Broadway comedy about a grandson interacting with his four grandparents, Ms. Lockwood, 82, played Aida Gianelli, the rock-solid grandmother who loves to cook, and whose home is the setting of the play, by Joe DiPietro. Ms. Lockwood played the part since July 1999, and had performed the role as recently as July 26; July 27 is a day off for the company.
She was born Elvira Anna Margherita Visconti (and was related to the Italian director Luchino Visconti) in Bristol, CT. She was an actress at her high school on Fort Lee, NJ, and took singing lessons early on. Her career would go on to include theatre, film and TV. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for work on "NYPD Blue."
Ms. Lockwood studied with Sanford Meisner, according to her Playbill bio, and appeared in Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional productions. Her credits include Long Day's Journey Into Night, Awake and Sing!, Exhibition, Plaza Suite, Gertrude Stein and Companion, Goodbye Fidel, The Six O'Clock Boys, The Sicilian Bachelor, a tour of The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker with Burgess Meredith, The Ritz with Jack Weston and Jerry Stiller, and Sunrise at Campobello. She played Marlon Brando's sister in the film, "The Freshman," and acted in "ER," "Doogie Howser, MD," "Calucci's Department" and "Mafia."
Ms. Lockwood is survived by three sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. Her husband of many years, Lester Lockwood, predeceased her. -- By Kenneth Jones