Julie Harris Dies at 87

Veteran Broadway actress Julie Harris has died, the NYT reports:

HarrisShe was 87. The cause was not immediately known, said Francesca James, a longtime friend who was with her when she died.

Ms. Harris had a lengthy, overstuffed résumé as an actress, with dozens of movie and television credits, including the 1955 film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel of brotherly rivalry, “East of Eden,” in which she played the girl who falls for the tormented younger sibling played by James Dean, and nearly eight years in the 1980s as an eccentric country singer on the prime time soap opera “Knots Landing.” But perhaps more than any other performer of her era and her elevated stature, she owed her stardom and reputation to the stage.


  1. joel says

    About a dozen years ago I saw her on tour in The Belle of Amherst and was completely blown away. It’s easy to say she was amazing but I can think of no other term to describe what we all witnessed on the stage that day. She had a cold which she worked into the performance and made seem as if playing Emily any other way wouldn’t make sense. There was no fussiness or affectation just simple brilliance, a truly memorable experience. A huge loss to the performing world.

  2. mike/ says

    i will remember her for “The Haunting”, the only movie that ever scared me & still will. you never see anything like in today’s CGI blockbusters. you don’t know if it’s in her head or if it’s for real.

    plus, she was the original Sally Bowles onstage in “I Am a Camera”. Isherwood said, “Miss Harris was more essentially Sally Bowles than the Sally of my book.”

  3. jamal49 says

    Rest In Peace, Dear Lady.

    @MIKE Thank you for mentioning “The Haunting”. I read the book as a boy (scared the piss out of me) and when I saw the film version in 1963, I could not believe how Ms. Harris had brought Eleanor to life! All the inner torments Eleanor suffered were expressed solely by Ms. Harris’ enunciating Eleanor’s inner voice or Ms. Harris facial expressions. A masterful job of acting. And I agree. The film still gives me the shivers.

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, God, where do you begin? I guess with “A Member Of The Wedding”.

    She was one of the greatest American actresses in American theatrical history.

    Oh, BTW, some of you may not know that there was Gay character in “A Member Of The Wedding”. He was played by 11 year old Brandon DeWilde. Go you Youtube.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    I meant in she was one of the greatest actresses in American Theater history…and American cinema also

    I remember how wonderful she was in “East Of Eden” with beautiful James Dean. Oh, my.

  6. RichardR says

    Always a big fan of the incandescent Ms. Harris. Met her briefly once when she was previewing in Philadelphia. She permitted me and two friends who’d seen the performance (can’t remember the play’s name – with Richard Kiley, about a couple in a snowstorm who may or may not be ghosts) walk her from the theater to her hotel. We were giddy for days. She was quirky and charming and sent me a gracious thank you note.

  7. David From Canada says

    Julie Harris was not a great Hollywood beauty, but she had very unique and quirky acting skills which made her a great actress – she was not a movie star, but rather, an Actress.
    She was at her best in 2 movies that I can remember:”The Haunting”, and a made-for-T.V. movie, “How Awful About Allan”, playing quirky characters as only she could.
    Underestimated by Hollywood but not by her fans.
    Goodbye Julie! You were the best of your generation!

  8. Warren W. Spencer says

    Haunting, Member of the Wedding, Reflections in a Golden Eye— but a triumphant trio of the many performances both on film and live typical of the excellence of the actress (rather than “star”, Ms. Julie Harris. As well, she was oh so always humble about her talent and kind to her fans.

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