Julie Harris, an actress best known for her work on Broadway, died on Saturday of congestive heart failure. She was 87 years old.
Harris got her start in television in the early ’50s, then jumped right in to film in 1955’s “East Of Eden”, opposite James Dean. She went on to appear in dozens of television shows and movies throughout the ’60s and ’70s and is well known by many as Lilimae Clements on “Knots Landing”.
But the stage is where Harris seemed to feel most comfortable, and is where she starred in productions such as “I Am a Camera” and “The Belle of Amherst”.
“The theater has been my church,” the actress once said. “I don’t hesitate to say that I found God in the theater.”
Indeed, the stage called to Harris from a young age; after discovering the way stepping into a role made her feel at age 14 during a school production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Harris studied drama in finishing school before moving on to prep school, Yale University and the Actor’s Studio. Her career was nearly 60 years long by 2009, when she made her last appearance in the film “The Lightkeepers”. As for her time on the stage, she was awarded six Tonys, one of which was a lifetime achievement award.
Longtime friend and fellow actress Francesca James spoke about losing such a special force in her life.
“I’m still in sort of a place of shock,” said James. “She was, really, the greatest influence in my life.”