Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Brooklyn, New York
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
The Birds and The Bob Newhart Show
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Suzanne Pleshette achieved television immortality in her role as Bob Newhart`s wife on the 1970s classic situation-comedy "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972). For her role as Emily Hartley, who was married to a psychologist played by Bob Newhart, Pleshette was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in 1977 and 1978. She also was nominated for an Emmy in 1962 for a guest appearance on the TV series "Dr. Kildare" (1961) and in 1991 for playing the eponymous Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean (1990) (TV) in a 1990 TV movie. Her acting career lasted almost 50 years.
Suzanne Pleshette was born on January 31, 1937, in New York, New York, to Eugene Pleshette, a TV network executive who had managed the Paramount Theaters in Manhattan and in Brooklyn during the Big Band era, and the former Geraldine Kaplan, a dancer who performed under the pseudonym Geraldine Rivers.
Blessed with a husky voice and good looks, Pleshette claims that she was not an acting natural, but just "found" herself attending New York City`s High School of the Performing Arts. After graduating high school, she attended Syracuse University for a semester before returning to New York City to go to Finch College, an elite finishing school for well-to-do young ladies. After a semester at Finch, Pleshette dropped out of college to take lessons from famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
She made her Broadway debut in 1957 as part of the supporting cast for the play Compulsion (1959). Initially cast as "The Fourth Girl," she eventually took over the ingénue role during the play`s run.
Blessed with beauty, a fine figure, and a husky voice that made her seem older than her years, she quickly achieved success on both the little and big screens. She made her TV debut at the age of 20 in "Harbourmaster" (1957) in 1957, then was chosen as the female lead opposite superstar Jerry Lewis in his 1958 comedy The Geisha Boy (1958). On Broadway, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway hit The Miracle Worker (1962).
Once Pleshette started acting, her career never lagged until she was afflicted with cancer.
Her most famous role in cinema was in Alfred Hitchcock`s late classic The Birds (1963), playing the brunette school teacher jilted by the hero of the film, Mitch Brenner (played by Rod Taylor). Contrasted with blonde ice queen Melanie Daniels (played by Tippi Hedren), Pleshette`s Annie Heyworth was as earthy, warm and frankly sexual as Hedren`s Melanie was cold and strangely asexual, something airy and of the sky like the birds that would peck Annie to death near the film`s climax.
Frankly, it is hard to understand how Taylor`s Mitch would jilt Pleshette`s Annie, other than to work out Hitchcock`s dark vision of society and psychosexual relations between the sexes, in which amoral blondes triumph for aesthetic rather than moral reasons.
Still, it is for Emily Hartley she will always be remembered, for both the original show and her part in another show that had the most clever sign-off episode in TV series history. Bob Newhart had enjoyed a second success during the 1980s with his TV sit-com "Newhart" (1982), and when he decided to end that series, he asked Suzanne Pleshette to come back. She did, reprising her tole of Emily in a final episode of Newhart, where Newhart woke up as Bob Hartley from "The Bob Newhart Show" in the bedroom of the Hartley`s Chicago apartment, Pleshette`s Emily at his side. Bob Hartley then told his wife Emily of a crazy dream he`d just had, where he was the proprietor of a Vermont inn overrun with eccentrics, the premise of the second show.
After "The Bob Newhart Show" ceased production, Suzanne Pleshette worked regularly on television, mostly in TV movies. Although she was a talented dramatic actress, she had a flair for comedy, and in 1984, she headlined her own series at CBS, which had run "The Bob Newhart Show." She helped develop the half-hour sit-com, and even had the rare honor of having her name in the title. "Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs" (1984), however, was not a success. She co-starred with Hal Linden in another short-lived CBS TV series "The Boys Are Back" in the 1994-95 season, then had recurring roles in the TV series _"Good Morning, Miami" and "8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter."
Pleshette was married three times. In 1964, she married teen idol Troy Donahue, her co-star in the 1962 film "Rome Adventure" and in 1964`s "A Distant Trumpet," but the marriage failed in less than a year. She was far more successful in her 1968 nuptials to Texas oil millionaire Tim Gallagher, whom she remained married to until his death in 2000. After becoming a widow, she and widower Tom Poston (a Newhart regular) rekindled an old romance that they had enjoyed when appearing together in "The Golden Fleecing," a 1959 Broadway comedy.
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High School of Performing Arts, New York City, NY
Full Name at Birth
Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008) was an American actress and voice actress. After beginning her career in the theatre, she began appearing in films in the early 1960s, such as Rome Adventure (1962) and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). She later appeared in various television productions, often in guest roles, and played Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 until 1978, receiving several Emmy Award nominations for her work. She continued acting until 2004, four years before her death.
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