Marian Seldes, Broadway Favorite, Dies at 86

Marian Seldes dead
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Marian Seldes, the actress and winner of the Tonys’ lifetime achievement award, died at her home Oct. 6 following a long illness.

The actress’ brother, Timothy Seldes, announced the death of one of the Broadway community’s favorite figures, who won a 1967 Tony for her role in “A Delicate Balance,” held a spot in Guinness Book of World Records for a four-year run in “Deathtrap” without a single missed perf, and taught students at Juilliard who included Viola Davis, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Kline, Christopher Reeve, and Robin Williams.

Following her work with playwright Edward Albee on “Delicate Balance,” she became on of the writer’s go-to actresses, working with him on “The Play About the Baby,” “Tiny Alice,” “Counting the Ways” and “Three Tall Women.”

Seldes, who was 86 when she died, most recently appeared on Broadway in Terrence McNally’s 2007 play “Deuce.” Her film work included “Truman” and “Home Alone 3,” and she also appeared on TV series such as “Murphy Brown” and “Sex and the City.”

Seldes was born and raised in Manhattan by writer and critic Gilbert Seldes and socialite Alice Wadhams Hall. At the Neighborhood Playhouse she studied with Sanford Meisner, and she also studied dance with Martha Graham.

Following a first marriage to Julian Claman, which ended in divorce, Seldes married writer-director Garson Kanin in 1990; he died in 1999.

No funeral or memorial service will be held for Seldes, according to her wishes.

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  1. Sue says:

    Could you spell her name right at the beginning of paragraph 4?

  2. Ron Holmstrom says:

    We are all so much poorer tonight. There is a hole in the heart of everyone who knew and loved her.

  3. Michelle says:

    Enormous talent and class. I’m glad I got to see her on stage and screen both and it was always way above superior.

  4. Tom Briggs says:

    Heartbreaking. One in a million, her likes will not be seen from again. Safe journey, dear one.

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