HomeTop HeadlinesAward-Winning Actress Dead at 93

Award-Winning Actress Dead at 93

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Frances Sternhagen, an esteemed Tony Award-winning actress known for her dynamic presence on Broadway and television has died at the age of 93. 

Sternhagen showcased her versatile acting skills in popular TV series such as “Cheers,” “ER,” “Sex and the City,” and “The Closer.” She died at her home in New Rochelle, New York, on the evening of November 27, 2023, just a month and a half shy of her 94th birthday. She died from natural causes.

Her son, John Carlin, announced the news, sharing his mother’s death on Instagram on Wednesday morning. In his moving tribute, he expressed his gratitude for the “remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen,” noting her beloved status among many. Carlin reminisced about their close relationship, highlighting their last conversation just a day before her passing, where they expressed their love for each other.

Her illustrious career spanned over six decades, marked by her debut on Broadway as Miss T. Muse in 1955, “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Her exceptional talent earned her two Tony Awards, including Best Featured Actress in a Play for “The Good Doctor” and again for “The Heiress” in 1995. 

Beyond the stage, she became a familiar face in American homes through her television roles. She portrayed Esther Clavin, the mother of Cliff Clavin, in “Cheers” from 1986 to 1993, a role that earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. From 2000 to 2002, Sternhagen appeared as Bunny MacDougal in “Sex and the City,” earning another Primetime Emmy Award nomination. Her career also included a recurring role in TNT’s “The Closer” from 2006 to 2012.

In addition to her television success, she made significant contributions to the film industry, starring in notable movies like “The Hospital” (1971), “Misery” (1990), “Starting Over” (1979), and “Julie & Julia” (2009). 

Her personal life was equally rich, having married actor Thomas A. Carlin in 1956, with whom she shared six children before his death in 1991. She is survived by her six children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Reflecting on his mother’s influence, Carlin noted that Sternhagen always encouraged his writing and enjoyed his singing. He shared how one of his new songs was inspired by her, and in his tribute, he bid her a heartfelt farewell: “Fly on, Frannie. The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly, and generously lived.”

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