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Famed Stage Actress Carrie Nye


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Famed Stage Actress Carrie Nye

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Carrie Nye

NEW YORK, New York -- Carrie Nye, an actress who was married to television host Dick Cavett and was a regular presence on the stages of the famed Williamstown Theatre Festival, died Friday, July 14 at her home in Manhattan of lung cancer. She was 69.

Nye made her Broadway debut in 1960 in "A Second String," an adaptation of a novel by Colette, and went on to earn a Tony nomination five years later by playing a society lady in the Broadway musical, "Half a Sixpence."

Nye appeared in numerous other Broadway productions, including "A Very Rich Woman" by Ruth Gordon and a 1980 revival of "The Man Who Came to Dinner." She also performed off-Broadway, in Michael Cacoyannis' production of "The Trojan Women" in 1963 and Tom Stoppard's "Real Inspector Hound" in 1972.

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Carrie Nye, Ruth Brown and Dick Cavett

But it was at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in northern Massachusetts where Nye spent much of her career, appearing in 24 of its productions over 31 years. "Carrie Nye will be remembered as a woman whose vibrant spirit and wonderful acting in many roles enriched the Festival," said Roger Rees, Williamstown's artistic director.

Rees reminisced further, "On a personal note, I fondly remember many summer afternoons spent at her home in Montauk where she reminisced about Tennessee Williams' visits to the Berkshires and his great affection for the Williamstown Theatre Festival."

Her first appearance at Williamstown was as Margaret in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" in 1958, and other memorable roles included the title role in "Hedda Gabler," the role of Blanche Dubois in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Anya in "Nude With Violin." Her last Williamstown appearance was as Zelda Fitzgerald in "Clothes For A Summer Hotel" in 1989.

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Carrie Nye in 1983's 'Present Laughter' and 1960's 'The Skin of Her Teeth'

Nye was born Carolyn Nye McGeoy on October 14, 1936, in Greenwood, Mississippi, the daughter of a local bank president and a homemaker. She first attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and then went on to the Yale Drama School, where she met fellow student, Dick Cavett. After Nye graduated, the couple went to Williamstown together for the Summer Theater Festival in 1959.

They married in 1964, and bought Tick Hall, a shingle-style beach house on Long Island built in the late 1800s. It burned down in 1997, but Nye had it meticulously and exactly rebuilt, down to the smallest details. The rebuilding process was recorded in a 2003 documentary, "From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall."

Nye was featured in a number of television movies during the 1970s, including "Screaming Skull" and "The Users." She was a member of the cast of the 1973 television movie, "Divorce His - Divorce Hers," featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Nye later wrote a humorous essay for Time magazine about the experience.

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Carrie Nye in 'Guiding Light'

In 1980, Nye earned an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of actress Tallulah Bankhead (an actress to whom Nye was often compared to during her career) in the television movie, "The Scarlett O'Hara War." In 1984, Nye was cast on the daytime soap opera, "Guiding Light" as villanious real estate agent, Susan Piper.

Nye's character had a memorable death scene where Susan Piper fell into quicksand. When Nye's friend, Ellen Weston became head writer of "Guiding Light" in 2003, she penned another character for Nye. Despite acclaim for Nye's performance, the storyline was unpopular and Nye's character was written off shortly after.

In a 2003 interview with The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Nye was asked to name the favorite role of her career. "None of them," she said. "I only became an actress so I wouldn't have to cook or make a bed."

Nye's only immediate survivor is her husband, Dick Cavett.

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