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Carrie Nye


Actress Carrie Nye, who performed often at the Williamstown Theater Festival, died July 14 in Manhattan. She was 69.

According to her husband, TV host Dick Cavett, the cause was lung cancer.

Nye, often attracted comparisons with Tallulah Bankhead for her dry wit and Mississippi drawl. She made her Broadway debut in 1960 in “A Second String,” an adaptation of a novel by Colette. Five years later she was nominated for a Tony Award for playing a society lady in the musical “Half a Sixpence.”

Other Broadway productions included “A Very Rich Woman,” a play written by Ruth Gordon, and a 1980 revival of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Among her Off Broadway credits were Michael Cacoyannis’s 1963 production of “The Trojan Women” and a 1972 production of Tom Stoppard’s “Real Inspector Hound.”

She started performing at the Williamstown Theater Festival in northern Massachusetts a few years after it opened, in 1955, and continued to return throughout the 1960s and 70s, playing the leading roles in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “The Skin of Our Teeth” and “Nude With Violin.” Ira Lapidus, president of the festival’s board of trustees said, “Carrie Nye was an integral part of the early years of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  For many seasons, she was the voice of the Festival.” 

With the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn., Nye performed “Troilus and Cressida” at the Kennedy White House.

She also acted in TV movies, including a two-part 1973 movie starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor called “Divorce His” and “Divorce Hers.” She played Bankhead in the 1980 television movie “The Scarlett O’Hara War,” for which she received an Emmy nomination.

In the 1980s, Nye appeared in films including “Creepshow” and “Hello Again,” in regional and Off Broadway productions and, briefly, on the soap opera “The Guiding Light,” before her character fell into a pit of quicksand. She returned to “The Guiding Light,” as a different character, in 2003.

Born Carolyn Nye McGeoy in Greenwood, Miss., she met Cavett at the Yale Drama School, and they married in 1964.

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