Heckart, 81, began her stage career at New York's Blackfriars Guild in 1943, in a play called Tinker's Dam. Broadway soon followed, with a string of roles in important and/or successful play, including William Inge's Picnic in 1953; The Bad Seed in 1954; Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays in 1955; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs in 1957 (critic Kenneth Tynan, seeing this, called Heckart "the best thin actress alive"); and Arthur Laurents' Invitation to a March in 1960. She toured in Laurents' The Time of the Cuckoo in 1964.
Heckart received Tony nominations for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Invitation to a March and Butterflies Are Free. She won an Oscar for the 1973 film version of the latter, and claimed an Emmy Award for her performance in "Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn" in 1967. More recent credits include Terrence McNally and Jon Robin Baitz's House at the Bay Street Theatre.
-- By Robert Simonson