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Julie Harris, Star of Broadway and Hollywood, Dead at 87

Julie Harris, Star of Broadway and Hollywood, Dead at 87

The actress was the most honored Tony performer with five wins for Best Actress and 10 nominations

Julie Harris, the celebrated star of Broadway and movies including "East of Eden," has died at 87.

julie harrisShe died on Saturday at her home in West Chatham, Mass., of congestive heart failure, family friend Francesca James told The Associated Press.

As a luminous presence on the American stage, Harris won five Tony Awards for Best Actress roles including the cheeky Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" (later turned into the musical "Cabaret") and the reclusive Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst." She was nominated 10 times, making her the most honored Tony performer.

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In addition she won three Emmys and a Grammy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

To television viewers she was best known for playing Lilimae Clements on "Knots Landing" in the 1980s.  The role was as a recurring character from 1980 to 1981 and a series regular from 1981-1987. 

In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She was a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame and received the 2002 Special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.

Harris's movie career began in in 1952, when she reprised the role she'd originated on Broadway of Frankie, a lonely teenager, in Carson McCullers' "The Member of The Wedding." She was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance. That same year she also won her first Tony award for playing Sally Bowles.

In a remarkably long career, many critics note Harris's Tony-winning performance in "The Belle of Amherst,"  a one-woman play based on Dickinson's life and poetry. Her Grammy came for the audio recording of the play.

Harris was born in Grosse Pointe, Mich., the daughter of a nurse and an investment banker. She was married and divorced three times, and leaves behind a son, Peter Gurian.