Isabel Bigley, who won a Tony Award for her role in the 1950s Broadway musical classic “Guys and Dolls,” died Sept. 30 in Los Angeles. She was 80.
Bigley had been playing Laurey in the London production of “Oklahoma!” when she was offered the role of Sarah Brown, the “mission doll” who entrances gambler Sky Masterson in the show based on Damon Runyon’s characters.
“Guys and Dolls” ran from November 1950 to November 1953 and earned Bigley the 1951 Tony for featured actress in a musical.
She went on to star with Bill Hayes in the 1953 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Me and Juliet.” The part was created especially for her and the musical was noted for her song, “No Other Love.”
Bigley was born in the Bronx. Her mother was a concert singer and she took an early interest in music that led to a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music.
In 1953, she married Lawrence R. Barnett, president of Music Corp. of America. Five years later, she retired from show business to raise a family. They lived in Rye, N.Y., for 30 years.
She and her husband made many charitable contributions to arts education, including establishing a graduate program in arts policy and administration at Ohio State University.
Last year, Bigley, who had homes in Los Angeles and Rancho Mirage, Calif., was named chairwoman of the board of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, Calif.
She is survived by her husband; four sons; two daughters; 16 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Donations may made to The McCallum Theater, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260.