Actress Maureen Stapleton Dies

posted 2006-03-13 15:45:41 by dmcnelis



SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Maureen Stapleton, an Oscar-winning character actress whose subtle vulnerability and down-to-earth toughness earned her dramatic and comedic roles on stage, screen, and television, died Monday. She was 80.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Maureen Stapleton, an Oscar-winning character actress whose subtle vulnerability and down-to-earth toughness earned her dramatic and comedic roles on stage, screen, and television, died Monday. She was 80.



The longtime smoker died from chronic pulmonary disease in the Berkshire hills town of Lenox, where she had been living, said her son, Daniel Allentuck.



Stapleton, whose unremarkable, matronly appearance belied her star personality and talent, won an Academy Award in 1981 for her supporting role as anarchist-writer Emma Goldman in Warren Beatty's "Reds," about a left-wing American journalist who journeys to Russia to cover the Bolshevik Revolution.



To prepare for the role, Stapleton said she tried reading Goldman's autobiography, but soon chucked it out of boredom.



"There are many roads to good acting," Stapleton, known for her straightforwardness, said in her 1995 autobiography, "Hell of a Life." "I've been asked repeatedly what the 'key' to acting is, and as far as I'm concerned, the main thing is to keep the audience awake."



Stapleton was nominated several times for a supporting actress Oscar, including for her first film role in 1958's "Lonelyhearts"; "Airport" in 1970; and Woody Allen's "Interiors" in 1978.



Her other film credits include the 1963 musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opposite Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke, "Johnny Dangerously," "Cocoon," "The Money Pit" and "Addicted to Love."



In television, she earned an Emmy for "Among the Paths to Eden" in 1967. She was nominated for "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom" in 1975; "The Gathering" in 1977; and "Miss Rose White" in 1992.




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