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May
18

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“elaine stritch: shoot me”

Elaine Stritch sitting

The other day, I wrote about the inspiring young girls in the must-see documentary, Girl Rising.

Today, I watched a documentary about another inspiring female that I have to share with you. At 89, she’s just a little older than those girls.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me follows the legendary Broadway star as she prepares for what she knows will be the final act in her famous career. With her gigantic round glasses, she is quite a character – “complicated and eccentric” is how Hal Prince describes her – and it’s fascinating to watch her fight her way through tough songs and lyrics while the effects of aging threaten to steal the spotlight.

Never one to back down, Stritch is determined to get out there and make the audience love her. And despite being crotchety, stubborn and very very direct, somehow she always does.

Elaine Stritch Shoot MeStritch is so real and charismatic, it’s no wonder she’s won over some of the biggest names in show business. There’s a funny but poignant moment when the late James Gandolfini (to whom the film is dedicated) says, “If we had met when we were 35, we would have had a torrid love affair that would have ended badly.”

Tina Fey calls Stritch a “great role model” because she’s “confident, brassy and she doesn’t wear pants.” Seriously! Stritch looks amazing in her signature white oversized button-down shirts over black stockings. To have legs like that at any age is a gift; to have them in your eighties, well, wow.

Although Stritch struggles with diabetes, alcoholism and those pesky effects of aging, she doesn’t shy away from talking about any of it. “Everybody’s got a sack of rocks,” she shrugs, quoting her late husband.

Seeing the personal photos and clips from Stritch’s prolific career is like taking an insider’s tour of old Hollywood and the theater world. Stritch was nominated for five Ton Awards and won three; she’s been nominated for eight Emmys, winning three; and she’s starred with leading men like Rock Hudson, who she also dated along with Ben Gazzara and a young John F. Kennedy.

It’s empowering to hear Stritch admit, “I like the courage of age. You get away with murder.”

She’ll never be one of the ladies who lunch – the ones she made famous in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. You know she’ll be taking curtain calls until that final curtain comes down.

So here’s to Elaine Stritch. She definitely knows how to live.

Comments

  1. I’m drawn to eccentrics, “originals,” as I like to call them. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I love her so much. SO much. I saw her a few years ago on Broadway in “A Little Night Music” with Bernadette Peters, and she’s on my iPod from my CD “The Ladies of Broadway” singing (of course) “The Ladies Who Lunch”. I know it by heart, but every time I heard it she always makes me smile.

    I can’t wait to see this documentary!

    P.S. I remember her co-starring in an episode of “Cosby” as a very funny teacher of one of the kids.

    I wish I had her energy, and I’d take her legs even at 89!

    Great post.

  3. I LOVE HER. I must see this.

  4. Oh wow, this sounds awesome! I have never heard of her, but now I want to see it. Thanks for introducing me to this.

  5. Hi – She’s the same as my mom, who is also quite the character and doing very well.

  6. This sounds amazing. What an interesting lady!

  7. she is a truly fabulous woman. we should all be more like her.

  8. She sounds like an intriguing person – the documentary must have been great!

  9. Looking forward to seeing this one!!

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I can’t wait to see this. I have always admired her, ever since I saw her in Company. “Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch” is such a classic. She is one of the last grande dames and it’s sad that she still isn’t kicking those legs on Broadway.

  11. She’s AWESOME Would Love To See!

  12. This sounds like a great movie! Putting it on my To See List!

  13. Ooh my goodness! I totally love her. It is not easy getting old and she is doing it wonderfully! Thanks for sharing.

  14. sounds funny to watch, full of humor!

  15. She is hilarious and reminds me of my grandma!

  16. She sounds like an amazing character for the current generation to really look up to. We need more women out there who show determination and follow through.

  17. It’s nice to see people appreciative of who they are and not wish to be something else…. faults & all.

  18. She is one spunky gal, and I can imagine seeing her perform would be fantastic.

  19. That is so awesome. I can’t wait to watch this.

  20. What a fabulous lady. I can’t wait to see this!

  21. Have always been a big fan of Elaine Stritch, I love her wickedly sharp humor. And Cathy – I saw her in A Little Night Music w/Bernadette Peters, too! And finally, LOVELOVELOVED her role on 30 Rock.

  22. This is awesome. Good on her for keeping her attitude and personality flowing so openly and authentically! It’s refreshing 🙂

  23. Can’t wait to see this film. I saw her in A Little Night Music. She forgot a lot of her lines. You could hear some dude shout them to her from offstage. But she never broke character and she kept on going.

  24. Sounds amazing. Can’t wait to see it.

  25. Sallie Opicka says:

    Write ON Lois! Great write up on an incredible woman.

    I loved the film so much, I could have gone back again and again – it was one week only in Dayton, Ohio. Friends with the manager of the movie theater The Neon, where it was shown, I requested the small poster he had on the doors – which was graciously given to me on my next attendance.
    🙂

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      So great that you got the poster! She is definitely a force of nature. She sounds kind of like the way Lisa Scottoline described her mother at the Erma conference!

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