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Theater vet Ellen Brandt dies

Multi-hyphenate appeared on TV, in films

Broadway producer, theatre and opera critic and actress Ellen Brandt died September 19 in Los Angeles from a stroke. She was 86.

An emigre from Hitler’s Nazi Germany, born Ellen Ruth Friedsam, she obtained a double degree in math and chemistry and was offered a position on the Manhattan Project, but turned it down to accept a contract from Revlon before becoming the spokesmodel for the Ed Sullivan show. She shot over 650 national commercials and appeared opposite John Houseman on the “Paper Chase” TV series and in the feature film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

In 1950 she married producer George Brandt (Brandt Theaters and Trans Lux) and was involved in the running of the Subway Circuit, the forerunner to Joe Papp’s American Theater.

Brandt produced “Brief Lives” for the Shubert Organization in 1975, starring Roy Dotrice. She was also a theater and opera critic for publications including Variety and the L.A. Times.

She is survived by a daughter, Dr. Jody Mosten; son Geoffrey Brandt, head of Course Management, and two grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the The Motion Picture & Television Fund.

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