Carrie Nye, a Tony-nominated actress and a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, is best remembered for her throaty, southern dialect and sharp wit. While she appeared in numerous films and television shows, she gained her greatest acclaim on the stage.
Carolyn Nye McGeoy was born on 14 October 1936 and began acting at an early age: by fourteen, she was starring in local plays. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and later the Yale School of Drama, where she met and married fellow actor Dick Cavett, who went on to become a well-known television host. From the late 1950s until the 1989, Nye often performed at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Her Williamstown performances included starring roles in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Bus Stop (1958), and A Streetcar Named Desire (1959) and culminated with the role of the eccentric Zelda Fitzgerald in Clothes for a Summer Hotel (1989). At age twenty-four, she made her Broadway debut in A Second String (1960), and she was quickly recognized as a promising and talented young actress. In 1965 she earned a Tony nomination for her role in Half a Sixpence.
In the mid-1960s Nye added film and television to her repertoire. She received much praise for her portrayal of Alabama-born Hollywood icon Tallulah Bankhead in a made-for-television film, The Scarlett O’Hara War (1980).
After 1997 Nye did little acting and instead devoted herself to rebuilding Tick Hall, the century-old Long Island cottage she and Cavett owned, after it was destroyed by fire. A documentary, From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall (2003), chronicles Nye’s efforts to create an exact replica of the cottage.
Nye died of lung cancer on 14 July 2006. She is remembered as a distinctive character both on and off the stage. In 2003, when asked to name her favorite career role, she answered with her typical wit: “None of them. I only became an actress so I wouldn’t have to cook or make a bed.”
- Internet Movie Database website, www.imdb.com
- Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times (18 July 2006)
- “Tony-Nominated Actress Carrie Nye Dead at Age 69,” Broadway.com website, www.broadway.com