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Audrey Christie
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    (June 27, 1912-December 19, 1989)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Portrayed Dorothy Walker on 'Fair Exchange' (1962-63)
    Originated the role of Miriam Aarons in Clare Boothe Luce's play 'The Women' (1936-1938)
    Best known as Mrs. Mullins in 'Carousel' (1956) and as Natalie Wood's Mother in 'Splendor in the Grass' (1961)
    Acted in 'Keeper of the Flame,' 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown,' 'Harlow,' 'Frankie and Johnny, ' 'The Ballad of Josie,' and 'Mame'
    Performed in Broadway shows 'Shady Lady' (1933), 'Sailor, Beware!' (1933 - 34), 'Alley Cat' (1934), 'Geraniums in My Window' (1934), 'I Married an Angel' (1938 - 39), 'Return Engagement' (1940), 'Banjo Eyes' (1941 - 42), 'Without Love' (1942 - 43), 'The Voice of the Turtle' (1943 - 48), 'The Duchess Misbehaves' (1946), 'Light Up the Sky' (1948 - 49), 'Buy Me Blue Ribbons' (1951), and 'Nature's Way (1957)
    Guest starred on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, That Girl, The Jackie Gleason Show, Maude, Starsky and Hutch, The Waltons, Barney Miller, and Charlie's Angels
    She was a dead ringer for a third Meadows sister (although a first-name-change would be in order).
    She was typecast as brash, needling 'coarse' women.
    The best known example being her portrayal of the crass, foul-mouthed tad-poling Carousel owner in the overproduced movie musical of the same name ('I don't run my business for alotta sluts!')
    At one point during filiming for 'Splendor in the Grass,' Elia Kazan whispered in her ear and instructed her to stand offstage and taunt Natalie Wood before the cameras started to roll for the 'nervous breakdown' bathtub scene.
    She stood off to the side and proceeded to coaxingly ask 'Darling is there anything I can do? Is there something I can do to help?' in a tone sounding like her mother's (whom Wood bitterly detested). It drove her nuts.
    Wood later recalled: 'He had Audrey say a line which he knew would set me off. It wasn't the line in the script. But it was a line which when I was little used to drive me crazy... I went off the way I always used to and they shot it and that was it.'
    She developed a cult following from her small role in Lucille Ball's 'Mame.' But when a fan came up to her and said she was the best part of the movie she reportedly exclaimed 'oh, that piece of shit!?' (which it was, make no mistake).
    She performed several original numbers by Rodgers and Hart early in her career.
    She began dancing on the Keith-Orpheum vaudeville circuit at 15.
    She played small comic roles throughout the 20s, but didn't get noticed until her performance as the difficult-to-bed Billie in 1933's 'Sailor Beware!'
    She won one of the first Donaldson Awards for her performance as a wartime man-seeker in 'The Voice of the Turtle.'
    She was denied the chance to reprise the Miriam Aarons role she originated on Broadway for the 1939 film version; instead Paulette Goddard was cast (whom stardom always eluded anyway).
    Eileen Heckart's first big break came acting as her understudy for 'Voice of the Turtle.'
    As Heckert's daughter tells it, Christie liked Eileen so much that she feigned a toothache so that her understudy could go on at her insistence.
    Ironically, this was around the same time that Christie's career began to wane. Little over ten years later, Audrey would be HER understudy for 'Dark Top of the Stairs.'
    The two remained good friends, with Heckert returning the favor by letting her go on several nights (when the play folded, Christie reportedly said 'alright honey, now go get us another one').
    She gave an understated performance as Deanie's overbearing mother in 'Splendor,' allowing her to come off as well-meaning and sympathetic as opposed to the usual 'cold and domineering' authority figure.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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