One of the stars of one the most recognizable Broadway shows of our time has sadly passed away.
Carole Shelley, who played Gwendolyn Pigeon in the original production of The Odd Couple, died on Friday from complications due to cancer at the age of 79.
Making a Splash
If you are going to break into the business, what better way than by appearing in one of the more successful shows in the history of Broadway.
Born in London, England, Shelley had performing in her blood. Her father, Curtis Shelley, was a composer; her mother, Deborah, an opera singer.
Shelley’s on-stage performance also won her a role when the Broadway production was turned into a Hollywood movie.
In addition, Shelley revived the role when The Odd Couple was turned into a TV show.
As a matter of fact, both Pigeon sisters from the original play were the only actors to play their parts in all three versions of the show.
Not a One Hit Wonder
While Shelley is clearly best known for her affiliation with The Odd Couple, that is far from her only or even her best work.
After getting her first Tony Award nomination in 1975 for playing Jane in Absurd Personal Signature, she won Best Actress in 1979 for her role in The Elephant Man.
She won another nomination in 1987 playing Maxine in Stepping Out.
Fans of Wicked will remember Shelley as Madame Morrible, a role she would also play for the national touring company.
Her most recent stage role was playing Jane Carr in A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.
TV and Movies
Shelley was no stranger to the big screen, or the little screen for that matter.
In addition to The Odd Couple, she had a role in several British and American films and TV shows in a career that would span decades.
Her most notable role post-Odd Couple was as Aunt Clara in the Bewitched.