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Imogene Bliss

Broadway thesp and TV-film actress

Imogene Bliss, Broadway thesp and TV-film actress, died Jan. 14 in Cleveland of natural causes. She was 84.

Ohio native was a graduate of Hathaway Brown School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and attended Mt. Vernon Seminary in Washington and Connecticut College for Women in New London, Conn. She also studied acting at Western Reserve U. under Prof. Barclay Leathem and the Max Reinhardt Workshop.

She was affiliated with many theatrical institutions in northeast Ohio, including the Cain Park Theater, the Cleveland Play House, Music Carnival and Kenley Players.

She made several Broadway appearances during her career, including a short-run 1967 revival of Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade,” directed by Don Driver; “The Women” (1963); and “Grease” (1977), directed by Tom Moore, in which she played Miss Lynch. She also appeared in pics “King of Marvin Gardens” (1971), co-starring Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern; “Chapter II” (1979), with James Caan; and “Catholic Boys” (1984), starring Donald Sutherland.

Additional stage work included “Your Own Thing” (rock ‘n’ roll version of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”) in 1968 and national tours of “Forty Carats” and “Grease”

Telepics included “Stone Pillow,” Lucille Ball’s project about a homeless woman, and “Mating Season,” which starred Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz. Bliss’ last role was 1996 TV movie “The Christmas Tree,” starring Julie Harris and directed by Sally Field.

She also had minor roles in the soap operas “The Doctors,” “Search for Tomorrow,” “Edge of Night” and “All My Children.”

Commercials included ones for Pizza Hut, Totes, Travelers Insurance and several other companies.

She received the Screen Actors Guild’s Joseph C. Riley Service Award for senior performers in 1992 as well as a special achievement award from the Cleveland Play House.

A devoted history buff, she became archivist at Judson Manor retirement home, celebrating the center’s previous incarnation as classy Wade Park Manor Hotel in Cleveland, which she moved to from New York in 1994.

She leaves no survivors.

Donations may be made to the Burns Paiute Tribe, 100 Pasigo St., Burns OR 97720, or Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio, 2800 Euclid Ave., Cleveland OH 44115.

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