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Broadway Legend Phyllis Newman Dead at 86

Broadway Legend Phyllis Newman Dead at 86
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Newman with her husband, Adolph Green, in 1993

Broadway musical legend Phyllis Newman died at 86 on Sunday, Broadway World reports.

Born March 19, 1933, in Jersey City, New Jersey, she performed as a child ahead of a 1952 Broadway debut in "Wish You Were Here." She also appeared in "Bells Are Ringing" (1956), "Pleasures and Palaces" (1965), "The Apple Tree" (1966), "On the Town" (1971), "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1971), "Awake and Sing!" (1984), and "Broadway Bound" (1986), along with many off-Broadway shows.

In 1979, she starred in the one-woman show "The Madwoman of Central Park West," a collaboration with the late Arthur Laurents.

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For her celebrated performance in the comic musical "Subways Are for Sleeping" (1961), in which she appeared wearing only a towel, Newman won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She had the distinction of beating Barbra Streisand, who was nominated in the same category for her work in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale."

Newman was nominated for a Tony a second time, for "Broadway Bound," and was twice nominated for Drama Desk Awards.

In film, Newman appeared in "Picnic" (1955), "Mannequin" (1987), "Only You" (1994), "The Beautician and the Beast" (1997), her final feature "The Human Stain" (2003), and others.

On TV from 1955, she appeared on the early drama "Decoy" (1957 & 1958), and was a series regular on "Diagnosis: Unknown" (1960), "Coming of Age" (1988-1989), and "100 Center Street" (2001-2002). A popular presence on TV game shows in the '60s and '70s, she was a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson was host.

Newman's final acting on TV came on an episode of "The Jury" (2004), and her last on-screen acting job was in the short "Everyone's Depressed" (2005).

In 1995, she founded the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors Fund of America, hosting annual "Nothing Like a Dame" galas. It is estimated she raised $3.5 million to help women in the entertainment industry, a feat that earned her the 2009 Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony.

Newman was married to legendary lyricist and playwright Adolph Green, who with Betty Comden created some of the most beloved songs of all time, from 1960 until his death in 2002. She wrote about their lives together, her battle with breast cancer, and her remarkable career in her memoir "Just in Time: Notes from My Life" (1988). She later toured on the lecture circuit with a presentation adapted from the book.

She is survived by her daughter, actress-singer-songwriter Amanda Green, and by her son, journalist Adam Green.

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