Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The lovely and extremely talented actress, Sheree North, died on Friday, November 4th, 2005, here in Los Angeles.
I just heard about it yesterday morning. The first time I ever saw Sheree perform was in a Broadway Musical called "Hazel Flagg". She danced and sang and got great reviews and won the prestigeous Theatre World Award, and landed on the cover of LIFE Magazine, and this led to her repeating her 'wild dance' in the film version of that musical called "Living It Up" with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Sheree was originally signed by Twentieth Century Fox, as a threat to Marilyn Monroe. (Those were 'The Studio System' days and 20th was supposedly using Sheree to put pressure on Monroe to 'straighten up', so it was said.....she never talked much about those days...She was a person who was very much in the 'NOW' mode of life....God Bless Her..)

Sheree did make a lot of films; most of them not too memorable, but that was never because of her talent. And in fact, she did replace Monroe in a film called "How To Be Very, Very Popular" in which she danced alongside the much more famous-at-the-time, Betty Grable, and it was said at that time, North out-danced Grable every step of the way.

Sheree starred in films opposite Dan Dailey, Gordon McRae and Elvis Presley among others. Her career spand way over 50 years (she performed 'live' on stage, as a child). For over half a century she appeared in more than 55 films, and during this time she starred or was featured in over 70 television shows. (Some of you may remember her from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in which she played Lou Grant's girlfriend, or, more recently, in "Seinfeld", in which she played Kramer's mother and revealed that his first name was Cosmo...!)

I will always remember Sheree as she looked, not in 1955 or '65 even, but more like she looked in the 1970's. (Like that last photo up above over on the far right...at least I hope that is where it will be....).
It's a funny thing that happens as you get older, the people you know that you don't see all the time, somehow you remember them at a time when they looked a particular way...a timeless sort of way, I think...certainly a more youthful way than they maybe look now, or in the more recent past....at least, this is true for me.

I first met Sheree in the late 60's when she became a member of Theatre West. (I've mentioned this wonderful group in some of my earlier posts on the old blog, and if I knew how to put a link here, I would....grrrr!)
The thing is, Sheree was a deeply serious actress and a truly extrordinary one at that! She appeared in many stage productions---musicals and serious plays---including the very moving, Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie", playing Amanda Wingfield, and she was brilliant! Besides being devoted to 'the work' of acting, she was also a very devoted mother. Her daughter Dawn with whom she was incredibly close, is an explempary human being...all due to their relationship, I think, and Dawn is living proof that the job of being a mother was a very very important one which Sheree never ever wavered from. Her devotion to her daughter was more important than anything else in her life, including 'career'.

The last time I saw her was in a play at one of the smaller prestigeous theatre's here in Los Angeles...I don't remember what the play was at this moment. But what I do remember was that she was spectacular in the play, and that we went out after the play with her daughter Dawn, who was there that night, and spent another couple of hours just catching up an everything and everyone! We went for coffee and a bite to eat and then came back to the parking lot behind the theatre where we stood for another hour continuing to share the things friends share....Sheree was utterly interested in 'you', you know? And always made you feel that you were the most important person to her. That's a true gift, isn't it?

The film, "Charley Varrick" was one of her most memorable screen performances. If you are unfamiliar with this film, rent it! It's a really interesting and different role for Walter Mathau, and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat throuhgout the entire film, till the very last frame, I might add! The woman that Sheree played?...Oh My...see, Sheree could communicate stuff with a look; with the smallest gesture---doing very little and making the moment really important because it was rooted in truth! Her 'less is more' school of acting worked like Gang Busters in this film, and for that matter in everything she ever did because of the truthfullness of her acting. She made every character she played very real and utterly memorable. Besides Matthau and Sheree, the rest of the cast of this film is just terrific too, and I promise you, you won't be disappointed if you rent it.

Sheree North will be missed by all who knew her and she will always have a very special place deep in all of our hearts. A sweet genuine person who knew how to act, a woman who knew how to be a partner to her man, a woman who knew how to be a mother to her child, and a woman who knew how to be the kind of friend that you will never forget as long as you live.

Rest well, dear dear Sheree. And know that you made a difference in all the lives you touched while you were on this earth, leaving a legacy of love and respect and a body of work that will live on as long as there is a way to preserve film.

Links to this post:


had this to say:

That was a lovely tribute. I remember Sheree North from Mary Tyler Moore, and I remember that Seinfeld episode. But, I had no idea that it was Sheree North. That was a favorite Seinfeld episode, and she was winning in it.

visiting from michele's today, but I plan to blogroll you so i can visit more often.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 3:46:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

WOW, what a nice tribute! I hope she knew you thought all this about her before she passed. Like Dena, I had no idea that was Sheree North on Seinfeld and I didn't remember Asner's girlfriend on Mary Tyler Moore. This is so interesting to read, and a nice insight into someone I'd know nothing about otherwise.

As to the fans: most of mine cost less than $20. I try to stay away from ebay (except to look) because I could get into serious trouble $$-wise if I am not careful...LOL.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 4:49:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Forgot this: I will check out photobucket ASAP, but not until next week. Ihave a big party on Wed., and a wedding on Sat. to do flowers for, so I will not have time to experiment. But thanks for letting me know about it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 4:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

spoken like a true friend. I hope that your loss i scompensated for (in a small way) by having known this quality of a person. a far cry from what passes for talent these days!

Youhave a magnificent heart, and a lot of class. Now I shall add that movie to my "rent it" list

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 6:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a lovely tribute. I've seen her in many things over the years and she was a wonderful performer.

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 7:21:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a lovely tribute.

To put a link in a post, you can either use the icon that looks like a green sphere with brackets above it (highlight the text you want to use as a link, click the icon, put in the webaddress) if you use blogger.

Or you have to type a bit of HTML:

Use < and > for the brackets.

open bracketsa href="WEBADDRESS"close brackets TEXT open brackets /a close brackets

hope that makes sense!

now you can link to my blog & put me up the ecosystem:-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 8:13:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a wonderful tribute to a dear lady! You have had an exciting past knowing all those Hollywood folks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 8:32:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh! I remember her! Mostly from the 70's, I think, that black and white photo you have there.
And I LOVE Seinfeld, I thought Kramer's mom looked so familiar but I couldn't place her. Now I know!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 3:41:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Oh no, I hadn't heard about Sheree North. I always loved her and thought she was a great talent. I wish I could've seen her in more live theatre. And she was so touching as Lou Grant's girlfriend on "Mary Tyler Moore." I'm glad she got a tribute on your blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 8:29:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

She sounds like such a fascinating, sweet, talented lady. I'm sure she considered herself fortunate to have called you her friend.

I will have to look for that movie. Sounds wonderful!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 8:34:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a great tribute to Ms. North. I love reading the inside stuff about old movies & moviestars that truly were moviestars! Things were so different in those days.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 9:49:00 PM PST 

Anonymous mar
had this to say:

This was very interesting reading,
visit your old blog here, if you edit the comment you should be able to read the form.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at 12:01:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

I remember Sheree from the 70s. I first saw her in the movie, Breakout with Charles Bronson. I started following her movies after that. I just found out that she had died watching a tribute on TMC. Charlie Varrick is one of my all time favorite movies. I am going to miss her.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 12:47:00 AM PST 

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