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Irene Worth

Irene Worth

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Also Known As: Harriet Elizabeth Abrams, Hattie Abrams Died: March 9, 2002
Born: June 23, 1916 Cause of Death: stroke
Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Acknowledged on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the finest stage actresses of this century, Irene (pronounced eye-REE-nee) Worth was born in Omaha, Nebraska but raised in California. She made her Broadway debut in 1943 in "The Two Mrs. Carrolls." Deciding that she wanted to be a classical actress, she moved in 1944 to England. There she became known as an outstanding interpreter of Shakespeare, appearing with the Old Vic Theater Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company and starring opposite such luminaries as Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness and Noel Coward.Worth also worked with noted avant-garde director Peter Brook, starring in the famed 1962 production of "King Lear" which opened the New York State Theater two years later. She also appeared in his experimental "Oedipus" opposite John Gielgud in 1968 and toured Iran with "Orghast," Brook's attempt to develop an international language of the theater. In 1965, Worth won the first of three Tony Awards for her commanding performance as the mysterious Miss Alice in Edward Albee's metaphysical drama, "Tiny Alice."Worth re-settled in the US in 1975, when she played opposite Christopher Walken in the Broadway revival of Tennessee...

Acknowledged on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the finest stage actresses of this century, Irene (pronounced eye-REE-nee) Worth was born in Omaha, Nebraska but raised in California. She made her Broadway debut in 1943 in "The Two Mrs. Carrolls." Deciding that she wanted to be a classical actress, she moved in 1944 to England. There she became known as an outstanding interpreter of Shakespeare, appearing with the Old Vic Theater Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company and starring opposite such luminaries as Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness and Noel Coward.

Worth also worked with noted avant-garde director Peter Brook, starring in the famed 1962 production of "King Lear" which opened the New York State Theater two years later. She also appeared in his experimental "Oedipus" opposite John Gielgud in 1968 and toured Iran with "Orghast," Brook's attempt to develop an international language of the theater. In 1965, Worth won the first of three Tony Awards for her commanding performance as the mysterious Miss Alice in Edward Albee's metaphysical drama, "Tiny Alice."

Worth re-settled in the US in 1975, when she played opposite Christopher Walken in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth," which brought her a second Tony. She continued to earn critical kudos (and theater awards) as the 1990s dawned, with her role as Grandma Kurnitz in Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Lost in Yonkers," a role she recreated in Martha Coolidge's 1993 feature adaptation.

Worth's occasional forays into film include "Orders to Kill" (1958), for which she won the British Academy Award for Best Actress, "The Scapegoat" (1959), "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971), "Eyewitness" (1981) and "Deathtrap" (1982).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Onegin (1999) Princess Alina
2.
 Just the Ticket (1998) Mrs. Haywood
3.
 Lost in Yonkers (1993) Grandma
4.
 Shell Seekers, The (1989) Dolly Keeling
5.
 Forbidden (1985) Ruth Friedlander
6.
 Fast Forward (1985) Ida Sabol
7.
 Separate Tables (1983) Mrs Railton-Bell
8.
 Deathtrap (1982) Helga Ten Dorp
9.
 Eyewitness (1981) Mrs Sokolow
10.
 Rich Kids (1979) Madeleine'S Mother
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1951:
Cast as Desdemona in "Othello"
1950:
Joined the Old Vic Theater Company
1946:
London stage debut in "The Time of Your Life"
1964:
Originated title role in Edward Albee's "Tiny Alice"; won Tony Award
1954:
Appeared as herself in the documentary, "The Stratford Adventure"
:
Born in Nebraska
1982:
Co-starred as the psychic in "Deathtrap"
:
Co-starred in "Coriolanus"
1930:
Family left Mennonites and settled in Saticoy, California
1920:
Family moved to Reedley, California to reside in a Mennonite community
1999:
Had cameo role in "Onegin"
1967:
Had lead role in "Heartbreak House"
1928:
Moved to another Mennonite community in San Luis Obispo, California
:
Won third Tony for "Lost in Yonkers"; reprised role in the 1993 film version
1975:
Returned to US to star in "Sweet Bird of Youth" in Chicago; production fell through; play finally produced at Brooklyn Academy of Music, then moved to Broadway; won second Tony Award
1942:
Stage debut as Fenella in "Escape Me Never" in Elizabeth Bergner's touring production
1968:
Starred in Brook's experimental production of "Oedipus" at London's National Theater
:
Toured the world, starring as Goneril in Peter Brook's production of "King Lear"; reprised role in the 1971 film version
2001:
Appeared at Britain's Almeida Theatre in "I Take Your Hand in Mine", based on the love letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper
1979:
Appeared in "Rich Kids"
1979:
Enjoyed a stage success as Winnie in an NYC production of Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days"
1948:
Feature acting debut, "One Night With You"
1960:
Had success in NYC production of "Toys in the Attic"
1953:
Invited to lead inaugural season at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, with Alec Guinness
1996:
Made guest appearance on the AMC original series "Remember WENN"
1944:
Moved to London
1949:
Originated role of Celia Coplestone in T.S. Eliot's play "The Cocktail Party" in Edinburgh
1953:
Played Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" at the Old Vic in London
1994:
Starred in the one-person show "Irene Worth's Portrait of Edith Wharton"; reprised role in 1997
1999:
Suffered stroke and had to withdraw from "Ring Around the Moon"
1977:
Won acclaim in "The Cherry Orchard"
:
Worked with Brook's company in Paris, and on tour in Iran
1983:
Acted in the HBO remake of "Separate Tables"
1943:
Broadway debut as Cecily Harden in "The Two Mrs. Carrolls", starring Bergner
1971:
Cast as the Tsar's mother's in "Nicholas and Alexandra"
1942:
Moved to NYC; adopted stage name
1952:
Toured South Africa with the Old Vic
:
While attending college, landed a one-line role as a witness in a courtroom in a film; RKO director Alfred Santell reportedly encouraged her to pursue acting, but her mother voiced her opposition
:
Worked as a kindergarten teacher in Santa Ana, California
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Newport Harbor High School: Costa Mesa, California -
Santa Ana Junior College: Santa Ana, California -
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles, California - 1937

Notes

She was decorated Commander of the British Empire.

She is a recipient of the Whitbread Anglo-American Award for Outstanding Actress (1967).

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Carol Johnson. Survived her.
brother:
Luke Evans.

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