Broadway Legend Elaine Stritch Dead At 89

Broadway legend Elaine Stritch has died today at the age of 89.

While theater stars often are lesser known in pop culture, even midwestern TV fans may remember Elaine Stritch for a memorable role on one of the modern era’s most popular sitcoms, 30 Rock.

On it, Stritch portrayed the mother of Alec Baldwin‘s Jack Donaghy, Colleen Murphy Donaghy.

But Stritch’s showbiz career far pre-dated her stint on the popular show, and the New York Times says of the 89-year-old’s lengthy industry tenure:

“Ms. Stritch’s career began in the 1940s and included her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen’s ‘September’ (1987) and ‘Small Time Crooks’ (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she played a recurring role on the NBC comedy ’30 Rock’ as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin. But the stage was her true professional home, where, whether in musicals, nonmusical dramas or solo cabaret shows, she drew audiences to her with her whiskey voice, her seen-it-all manner and the blunt charisma of a star.”

For most of her career, Elaine Stritch was open about her love of vices, notably alcohol and tobacco. Eventually, in her sixties, she gave up both habits, but later returned to them.

In 1968, she told the Times that she had no issues with keeping her lifestyle secret, and she said:

“I’m not a bit opposed to your mentioning in this article that Frieda Fun here has had a reputation in the theater, for the past five or six years, for drinking… I drink and I love to drink, and it’s part of my life.”

On Twitter, fans have been paying tribute to Stritch and her decades of work, with theater-centric sites in particular offering respects:

The cause of death for Elaine Stritch is not yet known, but the star had moved back to her hometown of Birmingham, Michigan last year. A friend of Stritch confirmed her passing at home this morning, but did not provide any further information.

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