Eileen Herlie, Tony-Nominated Actress, Dies at 90

Obituaries   Eileen Herlie, Tony-Nominated Actress, Dies at 90
Eileen Herlie, a stage and television actress who was nominated for a Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award in 1960 for Take Me Along died Oct. 8 in Manhattan, it was reported. She was 90 and lived in Manhattan.

To soap opera fans, the Glasgow-born Ms. Herlie was for 32 years the sane and wise Myrtle Fargate on "All My Children." She was nominated four times for a Daytime Emmy for her work, in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Take Me Along was Bob Merrill, Joseph Stein and Robert Russell's musicalization for O'Neill's sole comedy, Ah, Wilderness!. She played Lily Miller, a member of the central family in the story. He song load was considerable, including "But Yours," "Promise Me a Rose" and "We're Home."

Reviewing that show, Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times wrote: "Did you know that Eileen Herlie could sing in a voice that is beautifully cultivated? In America she has played farce, Shakespeare and modern drama with unvarying excellence. Here she is in musical comedy. Her affectionate Lily, the instinctive lady and the inevitable schoolteacher, is a lovely performance brought to a fine glow."

Ms. Herlie continued to show her versatility, shifted back and forth between musicals — the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams show All-American, in which she co-starred with Ray Bolger — and Shakespeare, including Richard Burton's famous 1964 Hamlet, in which she played Gertrude to Burton's Hamlet (despite the fact that Ms. Herlie was only a few years Burton's senior). She knew the role well, having played in Laurence Olivier's 1948 film "Hamlet." In that case, she was actually more than a decade younger than her cinematic son.

"In the vibrant performance of Eileen Herlie as the Queen…," wrote the Times of the movie, "[the actress] plainly ... shows the strain and heartache of a ruptured attachment to her son. So genuine is her disturbance that the uncommon evidence she gives that she knows the final cup is poisoned before she drinks it makes for heightened poignancy." Eileen Isobel Herlihy was born in Glasgow on March 18, 1918. After a time with the Scottish National Theater, she left for London. Her breakthrough was playing the queen in Jean Cocteau's Eagle Has Two Heads, in which she had a 27-minute soliloquy. She moved to the U.S. in 1955, following her Broadway debut as Irene Malloy in Wilder's The Matchmaker. Her other theatre credits include Peter Ustinov's Photo Finish (1963) and Halfway Up the Tree (1967), Epitaph for George Dillon (1958), a revival of Pirandello's Henry IV (1973) and Crown Matramonial (1973). After she joined "All My Children," she never returned to Broadway.

She was married to Philp Barrett and then Witold Kuncewicz. Both unions ended in divorce. She had no children.

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