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Oscar-Winning Actress Maureen Stapleton Dies

Maureen Stapleton, who won an Academy Award in 1981 for her supporting role as anarchist activist Emma Goldman in Warren Beatty's REDS, died March 13, 2006. She was 80. The longtime smoker died from chronic pulmonary disease in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire hills, where she had been living, son Daniel Allentuck said.

She was also long associated with husband-and-wife animators John and Faith Hubley, doing voice roles for their Hubley Studios projects. She voiced Mother Earth in VOYAGE TO NEXT (1974), which was nominated for an Oscar for best short animated film. She reprised the role in THE COSMIC EYE (1986), Faith Hubley's only feature-length animated work. In 1996, she also provided voices for Faith Hubley's 25-minute autobiography MY UNIVERSE INSIDE OUT.

Moreover, Stapleton, along with Jack Warden, voiced roles in DIG, the first network Saturday morning animated cartoon special, which aired on CBS in 1972.

She won an Emmy for TV's AMONG THE PATHS TO EDEN in 1967. Her Emmy nominations were for QUEEN OF THE STARDUST BALLROOM (1975), THE GATHERING (1977) and MISS ROSE WHITE (1992).

She was born Lois Maureen Stapleton in Troy, New York on June 21, 1925. Raised in a strict Irish Catholic family with an alcoholic father, Stapleton left home immediately after high school.

Her Broadway debut was in Burgess Meredith's 1946 production of THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD. At 24, she won a Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for her role as Serafina Delle Rose in Tennessee Williams' Broadway hit THE ROSE TATTOO. Other Tony nominations were for Best Actress (Dramatic) in 1959 for THE COLD WIND AND THE WARM, in 1960 for TOYS IN THE ATTIC, and in 1968 for PLAZA SUITE; and for Best Actress (Featured Role Play) in 1981 for THE LITTLE FOXES.

Though possessing rather plain features, Stapleton won an Oscar for her Reds role as Goldman, a left-wing American journalist who covers the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. She said that she tried reading Goldman's autobiography to prepare for the part, but soon got bored and threw it out.

She was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame on April 5, 1981. That year, Hudson Valley Community College, located in her hometown, named its theater after her.

Besides Allentuck, Stapleton is survived by daughter Katharine Bambery of Lenox and brother Jack Stapleton of Troy.

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