Worth, Irene

▪ 2003
Harriet Elizabeth Abrams 
      American actress (b. June 23, 1915/16, Lincoln, Neb.—d. March 10, 2002, New York, N.Y.), had a distinguished half-century-long international career, especially on the New York City and London stages. Known for her elegance, her rich contralto voice, and her intelligent interpretation of roles, she shone in both classical and modern works. Worth spent five years as a teacher before moving to New York City and landing a part in the touring company of Escape Me Never. She made her Broadway debut in 1943 in The Two Mrs. Carrolls and then went to London to hone her acting skills. Worth first appeared in fringe theatres and found her breakthrough role in The Cocktail Party, first at the Edinburgh Festival in 1949, returning with it to Broadway in 1950, and later that year taking over from the West End star. She then (1951) joined the Old Vic Company, where her early roles included Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1951), Desdemona in Othello (1951), Portia in The Merchant of Venice (1953), and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (1953), and became (1953) a founding member of the Shakespeare Festival Theatre at Stratford, Ont., and (1962) a member of England's Royal Shakespeare Company. On Broadway, Worth was especially celebrated for her Tony Award-winning roles in Tiny Alice (best actress, 1965), Sweet Bird of Youth (best actress, 1976), and Lost in Yonkers (best featured actress, 1991). Although Worth was primarily noted for her stage appearances, she also gained acclaim for her performances in a number of television productions and motion pictures, among them the films Orders to Kill (1958), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Deathtrap (1982), and Lost in Yonkers (1993). Worth was made an honorary CBE in 1975.

* * *

▪ American actress
original name  Harriet Abrams 
born June 23, 1916, Fairbury, Nebraska, U.S.
died March 10, 2002, New York, New York

      American actress noted for her versatility and aristocratic bearing. Although she had her greatest success on the stages of London's West End, she also earned three Tony awards for her work on Broadway.

      Worth trained as a teacher at the University of California, Los Angeles (B.Ed., 1937), and taught for a few years before turning to the theatre. She made her stage debut in a touring production of Escape Me Never (1942) and her Broadway debut in The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1943). In 1944 she settled in London, where she remained for much of her career. While a pupil of legendary dramatics coach Elsie Fogerty (Fogerty, Elsie), Worth made her London debut in The Time of Your Life in 1946. She quickly established herself as an actress of uncommon versatility and presence. Her other roles during this period included performances in Native Son (1948) and The Cocktail Party (1949–50).

      With the Old Vic Theatre during the early 1950s, Worth portrayed numerous Shakespearean characters, including Desdemona (Othello), Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and Portia (The Merchant of Venice). In 1953 she helped found the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, and appeared there in All's Well That Ends Well and Richard III. According to one critic, she “established her importance once and for all” with an acclaimed and erotically charged portrayal of Goneril in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of King Lear (1962). In 1965 Worth premiered the lead role in Edward Albee (Albee, Edward)'s Tiny Alice in New York City; she won her first Tony award for that performance. She later appeared internationally in Hedda Gabler (1970), The Seagull (1973), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1975), receiving a second Tony award for her performance in the latter production. Her best-known role of later years was that of the domineering Grandma Kurnitz in Neil Simon (Simon, Neil)'s Lost in Yonkers (1991). She was awarded another Tony for this role, which she repeated in the film adaptation two years later.

      Worth's other motion pictures included Orders to Kill (1958), for which she received the British Film Academy Award, The Scapegoat (1959), and Seven Seas to Calais (1963). She also performed extensively on radio in England. Worth was equally adept at classical drama, standard modern repertory fare, farce, and avant-garde theatre (the genre she enjoyed most). She was made an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1975. After suffering a stroke in 1999, Worth recovered and returned to the stage; her final role was in the two-character play I Take Your Hand in Mine (2001). Upon her death, the Guardian newspaper declared her “an actor of a quality that no self-respecting playgoer would voluntarily miss, in anything.”

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Irene Worth — Infobox Actor name = Irene Worth birthname = Harriet Elizabeth Abrams birthdate = June 23 1916 location = Fairbury, Nebraska deathdate = March 9 2002 (aged 85) deathplace = New York, New York tonyawards = Best Leading Actress in a Play 1965 Tiny… …   Wikipedia

  • Irene Worth — (* 23. Juni 1916 in Omaha[1], Nebraska; † 10. März 2002, New York City, New York) war eine US amerikanische Schauspielerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Wirken 2 Filmografie (Aus …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Irene Rich — (born Irene Luther on October 13, 1891 in Buffalo, New York; died April 22, 1988 in Santa Barbara, California) was an actress who worked in both silent pictures and talkies. Career Rich worked for Will Rogers, who used her in eight pictures… …   Wikipedia

  • Worth (Begriffsklärung) — Worth bezeichnet eine erhöht liegende Siedlungsstelle der Marsch, siehe Warft Orte: eine Gemeinde im Herzogtum Lauenburg in Schleswig Holstein, siehe Worth einen Stadtteil von Lüdenscheid einen Ortsteil von Wuppertal, siehe Worth (Wuppertal)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Worth —   [wəːθ],    1) Charles Frederick, französischer Modeschöpfer englischer Herkunft, * Bourne (County Lincolnshire) 13. 10. 1825, ✝ Paris 10. 3. 1895; gilt als Begründer der Haute Couture. Worth eröffnete 1857/58 in Paris einen eigenen Modesalon… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Irene Ng (politician) — This is a Chinese name; the family name is Ng (Chinese: 伍; pinyin: Wǔ). Irene Ng Irene Ng Phek Hoong (Chinese: 伍碧虹; pinyin: Wǔ Bìhóng; born 24 December 196 …   Wikipedia

  • Irene (film) — Infobox Film name = Irene image size = caption = director = Herbert Wilcox producer = Herbert Wilcox writer = James Montgomery (play) Alice Duer Miller starring = Anna Neagle Ray Milland Roland Young Alan Marshal music = cinematography = editing …   Wikipedia

  • Huracán Irene (2011) — Irene  (EHSS) Duración …   Wikipedia Español

  • Patience Worth — was allegedly a spirit contacted by Pearl Lenore Curran (February 15 1883–1937). This symbiotic relationship produced several novels, poetry and prose which Pearl Curran claimed was delivered to her through channelling the spirit, Patience Worth …   Wikipedia

  • Castle, Vernon and Irene — orig. Vernon Blythe and Irene Foote born May 2, 1887, Norwich, Norfolk, Eng. died Feb. 15, 1918, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. born 1893, New Rochelle, N.Y., U.S. died Jan. 25, 1969, Eureka Springs, Ark. U.S. husband and wife ballroom dance team.… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.