Marian Seldes, the Broadway performer who at one time held the Guinness World Record for being the "most durable actress” for a string of performances in Ira Levin's "Deathtrap," died at the age of 86 on Monday. Her brother, Timothy Seldes, reportedly made the announcement of her death.
Seldes, who received the Tony Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, reportedly died at her Manhattan home after a prolonged illness. In a career spanning six decades, Seldes was nominated five times for a Tony and received the award for best featured actress for Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance,” in 1967. She made her Broadway debut in 1947, in Robinson Jeffers' adaptation of "Medea.”
“It is with deep sadness that I share the news that my dear sister Marian Seldes has died. She was an extraordinary woman whose great love of the theater, teaching and acting was surpassed only by her deep love for her family,” Timothy Seldes reportedly said, in a statement.
Seldes, who was born in New York on Aug. 23, 1928, was elected to the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1995. Her last appearance on Broadway was opposite Angela Lansbury in Terrence McNally's "Deuce" in 2007.
Seldes’ record as the most durable actress, for appearing in "Deathtrap" from 1978 until late 1982 without missing a single show, was broken by Catherine Russell, who reportedly made over 11,000 performances in the off-Broadway production of "Perfect Crime."
Seldes also worked with Albee in “Three Tall Women,” which won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for drama, "The Play About the Baby," “Tiny Alice” and "Father's Day."
"I think I'm as ambitious as any actress can be, but I don't ask," she reportedly told The Washington Times in 1995. "I have a theory that it's better for me if I wait and either the director or playwright chooses. The best opportunities in my career have come that way, and all my opportunities with Edward Albee have come that way."
Seldes also acted in films, including "Mona Lisa Smile," ''Home Alone 3" and "Celebrity." Her television credits include "Nurse Jackie," "Murphy Brown" and "Sex and the City." She also wrote a memoir titled, "The Bright Lights: A Theater Life," and a novel, "Time Together."
Seldes married Julian Claman, a television producer, in 1953 and the two divorced in 1961. In 1990, she married writer and director Garson Kanin, who died in 1999.