Thursday, October 9, 2008

Irene Dailey


Another of the many actors I admire because they spent their careers in support, Dailey was usually overshadowed by her older brother, Hollywood hoofer Dan Dailey. She worked steadily in regional theatre and in London before making her Broadway splash as the mother in the original production of The Subject Was Roses. She appeared onstage often throughout her career, including standing by, and eventually taking over, for Irene Worth in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. Her final Broadway performance, in the mid-1990's, was opposite Frank Langella in The Father.

Like so many stage actors of the period, she found her day job in daytime. Dailey spent a year on The Edge of Night, playing murderous socialite Pamela Stuart. Subsequently, she landed the role which would keep her employed for 20 years, busybody Liz Mathews on Another World. In 1979, she won the Emmy for Best Leading Actress for the role, beating out, among other heavy-hitters, the late great Beverlee McKinsey, about whom I have already written.

Dailey passed away from colon cancer last week at the age of 88.