Frances Sternhagen, Tony Award-winning actor who was familiar maternal face on TV, dies at 93

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NEW YORK – Frances Sternhagen, the veteran character actor who won two Tony Awards and became a familiar maternal face to TV viewers later in life in such shows as “Cheers,” “ER,” “Sex and the City” and “The Closer,” has died. She was 93.

Sternhagen died peacefully of natural causes in her home in Washington, D.C., her son, John Carlin, said in a statement posted to Instagram. “Fly on, Frannie,” Carlin wrote. “The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly and generously lived.”

Sternhagen won a Tony for best featured actress in a play in 1974 for her role in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor” and a second one in 1995 for a revival of “The Heiress.” Her last turn on Broadway was in “Seascape” in 2005.

She was nominated for Tonys four other times, for starring or featured roles in “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” “Equus,” “Angel” and “Morning’s at Seven.” In 2013, she played Edie Falco’s mother in the off-Broadway play “The Madrid.”

“I have been very fortunate,” Sternhagen told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California, in 2002. “And I think a lot of that is because I’m considered a character actor — which really means you can do a variety of things. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do leading parts, because I have. But you’re not limited to playing yourself.”

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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