Broadway and West End musical comedy performer Libi Staiger died at age 91 September 25, her family confirmed.
Ms. Staiger is perhaps best-known on Broadway for her portrayal of Sophie Tucker in Sophie. On TV, audiences will remember her as one of the Corlick Sisters from Denny’s commercials in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The stage and screen star was born Elizabeth Staiger January 10, 1928, in Harrisburg, Illinois, the daughter of a jewelry store proprietor and a social worker. Before making it big on the stage, Ms. Staiger attended the University of Illinois from 1945–1948.
She made her debut as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest with Hilltop Lodge Stock Company in Pawling, New York. Her breakout role came soon after as Lois Lane in Kiss Me, Kate in 1952, the Binghamton Press stating: “For sheer audience bewitchery and musical comedy vocal ability, there is a wild-eyed but crafty blonde named Libi Staiger.”
Soon after making a splash in upstate New York, Ms. Staiger made her Broadway debut in 1953 at Winter Garden Theatre in the chorus of Wonderful Town. Additional Broadway performances include By the Beautiful Sea and Destry Rides Again.
Across the pond, Ms. Staiger starred in the West End as Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, directed by husband Jerome Eskow, an Obie Award winner and former chairman of the drama department at New York City's LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. The couple were together for 59 years until Eskow’s passing in 2009.
Ms. Staiger is survived by her daughter, Lisa Eskow, co-director of the Supreme Court Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, and her grandson, Max Eskow Domel.