Sarah Cunningham (actress)

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Sarah Cunningham
BornSarah Lucie Cunningham
(1918-09-08)September 8, 1918
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedMarch 24, 1986(1986-03-24) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1948–1986
SpouseJohn Randolph
(1942-1986; her death)
2 children
 
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Sarah Cunningham
BornSarah Lucie Cunningham
(1918-09-08)September 8, 1918
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedMarch 24, 1986(1986-03-24) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1948–1986
SpouseJohn Randolph
(1942-1986; her death)
2 children

Sarah Cunningham (September 8, 1918 – March 24, 1986) was an American film, stage and television actress.

Contents

Personal life

Sarah Cunningham was born Sarah Lucie Cunningham in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. She was married to film and Tony award winning broadway actor John Randolph from January 3, 1942 until her death on March 24, 1986. The couple had two children.

On March 24, 1986 while attending the Oscar telecast ceremony in Los Angeles, Miss Cunningham suffered a heart attack and died.[1] Cunningham had suffered from emphysema for many years and had asthma as well since childhood. She had been in the hospital for her yearly emphysema treatment but had interrupted the treatment to attend the Academy Awards for the first time. Her untimely and unexpected death from heart attack caused her husband John Randolph to undergo an immediate full physical which discovered serious arterial blockage in his own heart. Mr. Randolph underwent immediate surgery which unquestionably saved his life. He went on to win a TONY award for best supporting actor for his role as the Grandfather in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.

Career

Sarah Cunningham met John Randolph at Stella Adler's acting classes when she moved to New York from South Carolina after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Farrington College (University). At the time Mr. Randolph, an experienced actor and favorite student of Ms. Adler's was entrusted with teaching the newer students and John and Sarah fell in love during that time. They got married in Chicago in 1945, where he was working in the National touring production of Native Son, directed and produced by Orson Welles.

Blacklisted

Miss Cunningham together with her husband John Randolph the actor, actress Madeline Lee Gilford, Jack Gilford and others were victims of the anti-communist blacklist. They are believed to have been first named in 1951, possibly again in 1953 and were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 in New York. Both were unable to work in film, TV or radio well into the 1960s. The situation described below by another contributor was most likely caused by an advertiser or network pressure to fire anyone who had been or was on the "blacklist".

Cunningham was hired in 1964 to play Elizabeth 'Aunt Liz' Matthews on the newly created soap opera Another World. She was fired after just one episode by creator Irna Phillips along with actor John Beal for no apparent reason.[2] Sarah and John supported themselves and their family by working in the theater until the late 60's/early 70's when both were finally able to find work on TV and in films.[3]

Ensemble Studio Theater

John and Sarah were original founding members of the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York City, together with Artistic Director Curt Dempster and actor Jon Voight, between 1968 and 1972. They subsequently founded the Ensemble Studio Theater West in Los Angeles in 1980. Both branches have become well known for the quality of their productions and their programs for developing playwrights.[4]

A loving couple

Although both worked extensively in television and film their primary love was for the living theater. In 1983 they introduced playwright James G. Richardson's one act play Eulogy directed by Heidie Helen Davis. It was a two character play written especially for them as part of a trilogy of two character one-acts. They performed it in both New York and Los Angeles and it was the last work they performed together on stage before she died. However, their very last work together was in the Trapper John, M.D. episode "The Curmudgeon", shown on March 18, 1986 just a week before she died. In it she and John played reunited lovers who finally marry. The love they shared is beautifully evident in the final kiss between them at the end.

Death

Cunningham died in the lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion while attending the 58th Academy Awards, on March 24, 1986.

List of works

Filmography

Television

Theater

References

External links