Elizabeth Allen, Tony Nominee for Do I Hear a Waltz?, Dead at 77

Obituaries   Elizabeth Allen, Tony Nominee for Do I Hear a Waltz?, Dead at 77
Elizabeth Allen, retired stage, film, television actress and model who played a feisty, love-hungry tourist in the Broadway musical Do I Hear a Waltz?, died Sept. 19 at Wingate Nursing Home in Fishkill, NY, according to friends.
Sergio Franchi and Elizabeth Allen in Do I Hear A Waltz
Sergio Franchi and Elizabeth Allen in Do I Hear A Waltz

Ms. Allen was 77. The cause of death was kidney failure.

Before she was an actress, Ms. Allen, who was born in Jersey City, NJ, was a high fashion model with the Ford Agency. Her first job in show business was the "Away We Go" girl for "The Jackie Gleason Show."

She made her Broadway debut as Juliet in Romanoff and Juliet, with Peter Ustinov. Her New York stage appearances included the musicals Lend an Ear, The Gay Life, Do I Hear a Waltz? and Sherry!

She was Tony Award-nominated for The Gay Life (Best Featured Actress nomination) and Do I Hear a Waltz? (Best Actress nomination).

She is heard prominently on the cast album of Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim's Do I Hear a Waltz?, as a plucky single woman on holiday in Venice. The musical is based on Arthur Laurents' play The Time of the Cuckoo. Ms. Allen sang the title song — a ¾-time tune about being seduced by Italy (and leading man Sergio Franchi). Ms. Allen was also a member of the Helen Hayes Repertory Company in New York City.

The actress starred in the national companies of Cactus Flower and California Suite. Her final stage production was in both the Broadway and international touring productions of 42nd Street, as faded star Dorothy Brock.

Ms. Allen's film credits include "Donovan's Reef," with John Wayne, "From the Terrace" with Paul Newman, "Diamond Head" with Charlton Heston, "Cheyenne Autumn," "The Star Spangled Girl" and "The Carey Treatment."

She made many appearances on TV sitcoms, drama, soaps and game shows over the years.

Over the years she was an avid animal lover and philanthropist, donating to such causes as Greenpeace, Save the Children, The Sierra Club and many more. She was active in her local organizations at her homes in Lake Peekskill, NY, New York City and Studio City, CA.

Ms. Allen was predeceased by her brother and only sibling, Joseph L. Gillease. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Marion Gillease of Poughkeepsie, NY, her nephew and godson, Patrick J. Gillease and his companion, John V. Kloepfer, both of Poughkeepsie, her niece Erin Phelan and Erin's husband Jeffrey P. Phelan, both of Westbrookville, NY, and her grand-nieces, Alicia F. Phelan and Alexandria S. Phelan, also of Westbrookville.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Actors' Fund of America via their website, www.actorsfund.org/support/ or by contacting Judy Fish, Director of Individual Giving, at JFish@actorsfund.org.

Cremation was performed at Ms. Allen's request and interment will be private. A memorial celebration of Elizabeth Allen's life will commence Oct. 8 at the Auchmoody Funeral Home, 1028 Main Street, Fishkill, NY 12524. Call (845) 896-6166 for more information.

There will be no calling hours other than the memorial. A separate celebration of her life will occur some time this fall with her friends and family in Studio City, CA, at a time and location to be announced.

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