Nanette Fabray, the beloved singer, dancer, actress, and comedian, has died at age 97. Fabray passed away at her home in Palos Verdes, California, her son, Jamie MacDougall, told the New York Times. Nanette Fabray had an impressive stage and movie career, but her long resume also included many TV roles, which earned her three Emmy Awards. In the 1970s, Nanette had a semi-regular role on the original version of the sitcom One Day at a Time, playing the grandmother of Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli’s characters, Julie and Barbara Romano.
After Nanette Fabray’s death was announced, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris described her as “a true performer and star of Hollywood’s Golden Age.” In addition, many stars took to social media to remember the beloved star.
While Nanette Fabray’s TV granddaughters have not yet publicly commented on her death, Shaun Cassidy, the son of Nanette’s Happy Endings co-star Shirley Jones, recalled visiting her house as a child. Cassidy posted a remembrance of a New Year’s Eve party at Nanette’s home that included a huge craft area to keep the kids busy. Nanette Fabray was a close friend of Shaun Cassidy’s parents, Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones.
Other stars, including Nancy Sinatra and Sharon Lawrence, also posted reaction to Nanette Fabray after her death. You can see some of the tweets below.
One of the highlights of my childhood was going with my parents to Nanette Fabray's house for New Year's. There was always a massive crafts table where she encouraged us kids to build our own hats and horns and whatever. What a beautiful force of life she was. #RIPNanetteFabray— Shaun Cassidy (@shaunpcassidy) February 24, 2018
Godspeed, Nanette Fabray. ????????— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) February 24, 2018
Nanette Fabray was pretty awesome. RIP.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) February 24, 2018
Nanette Fabray was so talented. I hope you know who she was. If not you need to watch more old movies! (And the Sid Caesar show)— Tom Shillue (@tomshillue) February 24, 2018
Nanette Fabray famously co-starred with Sid Caesar in his Caesar’s Hour comedy show, but she may be best remembered as a TV mom. Nanette played Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) mother, Dottie Richards, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Ann Romano’s (Bonnie Franklin) mom, Grandma Katherine Romano, for 42 episodes on the original One Day at a Time series. Nanette even played mom to her real-life niece, Shelley Fabares, on Coach. At age 97, Nanette Fabray outlived two of her TV daughters: Bonnie Franklin, who died in 2013 at age 69, and Mary Tyler Moore, who died in 2017 at age 80.
Even before they worked together on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore credited Nanette for providing comedic inspiration for her breakout role as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, most notably for her character’s comical hiccuping crying style.
“There was a lot of Nanette Fabray for me in the character that I played, especially when it came to the crying scenes,” Moore once said, according to Bloomberg.
In addition to her TV career, Nanette Fabray’s movie career included a role in the 1969 movie The Happy Ending, which starred Jean Simmons and her close friend Shirley Jones. Nanette, who suffered from a hearing impairment, was also an advocate for people with hearing disabilities.
Nanette Fabray is one of several icons from TV’s Golden Age to pass away in recent months. In December, Dick Van Dyke Show alum Rose Marie died at age 94. And in January, Fabray’s fellow Coach star Jerry Van Dyke passed away.
You can see Nanette Fabray making a guest appearance on her good friend Carol Burnett’s show in the video below.