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Anne Jackson

Anne Jackson
Anne Jackson

“New York Times” obituary from April 2016:

Anne Jackson, a distinguished star of the stage who was half of one of America’s best-known acting couples, sharing much of a long and distinguished career with her husband, Eli Wallach, died on Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 90.   Her death was confirmed by her daughter Katherine Wallach.   If not quite on the same level of stardom as Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne or Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Wallach came close. From the early 1950s to 2000, when they starred Off Broadway in Anne Meara’s comedy “Down the Garden Paths,” they captivated audiences with their onstage synergy, displaying the tense affections and sizzling battles of two old pros who knew both how to love and how to fight   Ms. Jackson, who had endured a difficult life growing up in Brooklyn, carved out an impressive stage career of her own. Critics hailed her range and the subtlety of her characterizations — including all the women, from a middle-aged matron to a grandmother, in David V. Robison’s “Promenade, All!” (1972) — and a housewife verging on hysteria in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absent Friends” (1977).   She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as the daughter of a manufacturer, played by Edward G. Robinson, in Paddy Chayefsky’s “Middle of the Night” (1956).

 But she was best known for her work with Mr. Wallach, who died in 2014. Together they appeared in classics by Shaw and Chekhov; in dramas by Tennessee Williams and Eugène Ionesco; and, perhaps most notably, in offbeat comedies by Murray Schisgal.   They both won Obie Awards for their work in Mr. Schisgal’s 1963 Off Broadway double bill, “The Typists” and “The Tiger.” They also starred in his hit 1964 Broadway comedy, “Luv,” directed by Mike Nichols, which ran 901 performances and won three Tony Awards, and in another pair of Schisgal one-acts, “Twice Around the Park,” on Broadway in 1982.   Reviewing “Twice Around the Park” in The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote: “It would be absurd to think of a more perfect Schisgal woman (or maybe even a more perfect woman) than Miss Jackson — who is cool, poised and intelligent except on those occasions when she crumbles to the floor to demand that Mr. Wallach give her a sound kicking. (Don’t worry: Miss Jackson doesn’t deserve the punishment, and Mr. Wallach, deep down, is far too kind to deliver it.)   Ms. Jackson and Mr. Wallach appeared together 13 times on Broadway, seven times Off Broadway, and occasionally in movies and on television, where they did most of their work (both together and apart) in the later years of their career.

The volatility that characterized much of Ms. Jackson and Mr. Wallach’s stage work often carried over into their dressing rooms, with life imitating art over some technique or timing in a performance. Friends called it candid shoptalk by perfectionists who respected each other intellectually, emotionally and professionally. Life in the Jackson-Wallach apartment on Riverside Drive was also a turbulent affair: a juggling of finances and schedules to meet the demands of show business, marriage and parenthood — raising three children in the competitive wilds of Manhattan. They hired help, tried to smooth frictions with gruff tact and bought a weekend home in East Hampton, N.Y., to get away from it all.   n 1979, Ms. Jackson published a memoir that surprised critics. It was not about her career and had no spicy gossip or self-promotional revelations. The book, “Early Stages,” was instead a frank examination of her childhood and the years of turmoil that formed her, ending poignantly with the deaths of her parents.   “She writes of it vividly, sensitively, modestly,” Seymour Peck wrote in a review for The New York Times. “She cherishes it: this family nurtured her, gave her the strength, let her go on to become an actress, somehow prepared her for her own good marriage (to Eli Wallach) and for motherhood.”   She also examined her early days with Mr. Wallach. “We had a lot in common,” she wrote. “Neither of us could sing; both of us loved to act; we were both ambitious and idealistic; and we endowed each other with the most extraordinary virtues.”



Anyone who knows me are aware that I am a bit of a movie buff. Over the past few years I have been collecting signed photographs of my favourite actors.

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