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HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > EASTSIDER TAMMY GRIMES
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Star of Father's Day at the American Place Theatre


Tammy Grimes is one of the few Broadway stars to have received Tony Awards in two categories — for best Musical Comedy Actress in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1961), and for Best Dramatic Actress in Noel Coward's Private Lives (1969). In a sense, she is Molly Brown personified — a powerful stage presence whose charm, beauty, and pure talent make her shine in every production she takes part in, regardless of the overall merit of the show itself.

Her disappointments have been, at times, as spectacular as her triumphs. For example, there was her shot at network television in the early 1960s, The Tammy Grimes Show, which lasted only 11 episodes because, she says, "the writing, the concept, and the talent never really got together. And I blame myself for that. Because if your name's up there, you are responsible for the product."

Her marriage to actor Christopher Plummer ended in divorce after four years, but had the happy result of producing a daughter, Amanda Plummer, who is now a successful actress herself.

Tammy played Molly Brown on Broadway for the show's entire two-year run, but the movie role went to Debbie Reynolds. She got some rave reviews for her acting in a Broadway thriller named Trick this year, but the show closed within weeks. When that happened, she quickly started working on a new show, Father's Day by Oliver Hailey, that is scheduled to open on June 21 at the American Place Theatre on West 46th Street.

"It's about three women who get together on Father's Day," says Miss Grimes in an interview at her Upper East Side apartment. "They live in the same building, and they're divorced. It shows how the three of them are coping with the situation. My feeling is that they don't want to be divorced. It's a very well-written play — a comedy. … It's at the same theatre where In Cold Storage started."

The interview takes place in her softly decorated bedroom looking out on a garden. Tammy is propped up on pillows beneath the covers, smoking a cigarette and sipping a bottle of Tab as she apologizes for her condition. "It may have been the caviar I had last night," she says, cheerful in spite of her discomfort. Her pixyish features expand easily into a grin, and at 45 she has lost none of the childlike playfulness that first propelled her to stardom. But the most surprising quality ab............
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