Today, I lost the woman on which I hope to model my golden years on. That woman was Elaine Stritch. And if you don’t know who I’m talking about, you are doing yourself an extreme disservice.
Seriously, go to Netflix right now and watch Shoot Me, a documentary regarding the bright light and crude mouth that was Miss Stritch. A Broadway icon, Elaine Stritch paved the way for character actresses everywhere, and that just because you age doesn’t mean you have to smack your gums and watch daytime TV until you go to that big dressing room in the sky. Stritch was an image of durability and joy in a world where quite often we are shown that in order to achieve greatness, we must let go of such things.
Elain Stritch’s career began in the 1940’s, and spanned over 70 years. With an Emmy and a Tony each as a feather in her hat (And really, does anyone still wear a hat?) Elaine proved that swimming against the current and picking yourself up and dusting yourself off not only can pay off, but make up what everyone loves about you. She was brash, blunt and honest about the ups and downs of both her career and her personal life, and did not sugar-coat her climb to become the unique public figure she became. Yes, she worked hard. Yes, she had issues with addiction. And yes, she came out better for it on the other side.
Despite her tremendous scowl and penchant for salty commentary, Elaine was nothing but positivity and graciousness both onstage and off. Should you catch her between takes on a TV show or coming out of one of her many Broadway productions, not only would she stop for a smile, but would want to know about you as much as you would want to know about her. Her life was an open book, and one that genuinely hurts to close.
Thank you for all the laughs, Madam. And thank you for teaching us that women can have the glamour along with a spine of steel and the liver of an Irish brawler. We will forever love you, and cherish you. And I’ll drink to that.
And because no one can send Stritch off better than herself…