Sex And The City actress dies

Tony Award-winning actress Frances Sternhagen – who played Charlotte York’s mother-in-law Bunny MacDougal in Sex In The City – has died aged 93.

Her family said in a statement the star died peacefully of natural causes at her home on Monday night. Her publicist confirmed she died in New Rochelle, New York.

Sternhagen, a veteran character actress, enjoyed a career spanning nearly seven decades on stage, film and TV.

She appeared in hospital drama ER, playing the role of Dr John Carter’s grandmother – and in the sitcom Cheers as the mother of the Cliff Clavin.

On social media, her son John Carlin said she was nearing her 94th birthday and that the actress was “beloved by many”.

He wrote on Instagram: “I just want to give thanks for the remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen.”

He added: “Fly on, Frannie. The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly and generously lived.”

Sternhagen was born in in Washington DC in 1930, where as a child she loved to perform and said she was “a shameful show-off” – but had never considered an acting career.

While studying history, a teacher suggested she go into acting, according to the New York Daily News.

Eventually she switched to majoring in acting at Vassar College and became the head of the drama club before graduating in 1951.

After graduation she taught drama, modern dance and singing outside Boston before deciding to work in theatre.

The star’s role in Sex And The City brought her a third Emmy and she was nominated for Tony Awards at least six times throughout her career.

She won a Tony for best featured actress for her role in 1974 play The Good Doctor and a second one for her role in a 1995 revival of The Heiress.

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Tom Aldredge and Frances Sternhagen celebrate the opening of their play "On Golden Pond" in 1979. Pic: AP
Tom Aldredge and Sternhagen at the opening of their play On Golden Pond in 1979. Pic: AP

Paul Rudnick, a playwright, shared his condolences on X, saying Sternhagen was a “wonderful actress, capable of the highest comedy and deeply moving drama”.

Alongside her stellar repertoire, the actor raised six children and always said her family came first – commuting from her suburban home in New Rochelle while acting on Broadway.

But she said touring, films and TV work sometimes took her away from home.

“I remember telling my older daughter when she was about 13 that sometimes I felt terribly guilty that I wasn’t home all the time,” she told a Gale Group reporter.

“And my daughter said, ‘Oh, Mom, you would have been impossible if you were home all the time’. I’m sure she was right,” she added.

Her family said they were planning a “celebration of her remarkable career and life” for mid-January, around her 94th birthday, according to Sky News’ US partner network NBC News.

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