Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes dies

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Marian Seldes
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Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes dies
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Marian Seldes (Garson Kanin's widow) and Director Doug Hughes pose at The Opening Night After Party for 'Born Yesterday' on Broadway at The Edison Ballroom on April 24, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Marian Seldes attends the 2011 Soho Rep Spring Gala at Highline Ballroom on May 2, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 14: Marian Seldes sighting on April 14, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28: Actors Marian Seldes and Tammy Grimes attend the 2011 Love 'N' Courage Gala at The National Arts Club on February 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Marian Seldes walks with her aide around Central Park on November 07, 2011 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Roger Berlind and Marian Seldes attend the New Dramatists 62nd Annual Benefit Luncheon at the Marriot Marquis on May 17, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: Heather Randall and Marian Seldes attend the Opening Night party for 'Free Man Of Color' at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on November 18, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Actress Marian Seldes attends the 2010 Anglo-American Cultural Gala Awards reception at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College on October 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Marian Seldes attends the opening night of 'La Bete' on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on October 14, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 22: Marian Hall Seldes attends the Acting Company's 2010 Masquerade Gala at The Pierre Hotel on November 22, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Marc Stamas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Actress Marian Seldes speaks onstage during the 64th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 07: Actress Marian Seldes attends the 'Gimme A Break!' Gala at the Asia Society on December 7, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 01: Actress Marian Seldes attends the American Theatre Wing's 2009 Spring Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 1, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 04: Marian Seldes sighting on March 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: (L-R) Marcia Gay Harden, Marian Seldes and Kate Mulgrew attend a gala celebration of community at The Rainbow Room on February 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Marian Seldes (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Marian Seldes during 'Deuce' Opening Night - Curtain Call and After Party at Sardi's in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MARCH 22: Actresses Marian Seldes and Tyne Daly arrive for opening night of 'Curtains' on Broadway at the Hirschfeld Theatre, March 22, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Actress Marian Seldes poses at the Off-Broadway opening night performance of My Name Is Rachel Corrie at the Minetta Lane Theatre October 15, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Actors Marian Seldes and Jane Fonda perform opening night of V-Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Actress Marian Seldes performs opening night of V-Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Actors Marian Seldes and Jane Fonda perform opening night of V-Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Actors Marian Seldes and Jane Fonda perform opening night of V-Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Performers Shiva Rose, Emma Myles, Marcia Gay Harden, Marian Seldes, Jane Fonda, writer Eve Ensler, Kathy Bates and Kerry Washington attend opening night of V-Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: (L-R) Performers Emma Myles, Marian Seldes and Shiva Rose attend opening night of V- Day's festival 'UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC' with a reading of Eve Ensler's 'Necessary Targets' at Studio 54 June 12, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for V-Day)
Julie Halston, Terry Schreiber, Cynthia Nixon and Marian Seldes (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Marian Seldes during 'The American Theatre Wing's Annual Spring Gala' honoring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. at Cipriani's at 42nd Street in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by M. Von Holden/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: (U.S. TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actress Marian Seldes conducts an interview as she attends the opening of 'Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams' after party at Bottega del Vino August 18, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 24: Actress Marian Seldes starts things off during the 2005 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards presentation held at the Algonquin Hotel May 24, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 5: (L-R) Actress Marian Seldes, actor Denis O'Hara and Kelly Roche attend The18th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards For Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway at the Lucile Lortel Theater May 5, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 7: (U.S. TABS & HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) (L-R) Actresses Vanessa Redgrave, Betsy Blair and Marian Seldes attend a tribute and special screening of the late director Karel Reisz's first feature film, 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' at the MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre April 7, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
Edward Albee's new play, 'The Play About The Baby' opens at the Century Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. 02/1/2001. Pictured: Marian Seldes and Brian Murray during the curtain call.
Jean Stapleton, on left, and Marian Seldes at the party for the opening night of 'Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends' at Sardi's in New York City. 1/29/02 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
NEW YORK CITY - JUNE 27: Marian Seldes and Robert Moore attend Diane Judges Party on June 27, 1978 at Il Caminetto Restaurant in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American actress Marian Seldes in a scene from an episode of 'Robert Herridge Theater' entitiled 'Ring Around Rosy,' New York, New York, October 2, 1959. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 26: Marian Seldes attends the party for 21st Annual Tony Awards on March 26, 1967 at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Scene from the Broadway stage production of Edward Albee's 'A Delicate Balance,' starring Carmen Mathews, Henderson Forsythe, Marian Seldes, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and Rosemary Murphy (top to bottom, left, to right), at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York, New York, September 1966. (Photo by John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Farley Granger and Marian Seldes (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Marian Seldes during 1982 Theatre World Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 01: Marian Seldes and Roger Rees (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(L-R) Actresses Marian Seldes, Helen Hayes and Elizabeth McGovern. (Photo by David Mcgough/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Marian Seldes and Robert Worse during Party for Diane Judge at Il Caminetto Restaurant at Il Caminetto Restaurant in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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NEW YORK (AP) - Actress Marian Seldes, the Tony Award-winning star of "A Delicate Balance" who was a teacher of Kevin Kline and Robin Williams, a muse to playwright Edward Albee and a Guinness Book of World Records holder for most consecutive performances, died Monday at age 86.

She died peacefully at her home after an extended illness, her brother Timothy Seldes said.

"It is with deep sadness that I share the news that my dear sister Marian Seldes has died," he said in a statement. "She was an extraordinary woman whose great love of the theater, teaching and acting was surpassed only by her deep love for her family."

Marian Seldes made her Broadway debut in 1947 in a production of "Medea," starring the versatile actress Judith Anderson, and later appeared in hits such as "Equus" and "Deathtrap." Her most recent Broadway outing was in Terrence McNally's "Deuce" in 2007, starring opposite Angela Lansbury.

Seldes was nominated for a Tony five times, for her performances in "A Delicate Balance," ''Father's Day," ''Deathtrap," ''Ring Round the Moon" and "Dinner at Eight." She won in 1967 for "A Delicate Balance" and won her second Tony in 2010 for lifetime achievement.

Her collaboration with Albee included "Three Tall Women," which won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for drama, "The Play About the Baby," ''Tiny Alice" and "Father's Day."

"I think I'm as ambitious as any actress can be, but I don't ask," she told The Washington Times in 1995. "I have a theory that it's better for me if I wait and either the director or playwright chooses. The best opportunities in my career have come that way, and all my opportunities with Edward Albee have come that way."

But she moved easily from role to role, from Chekhov's "Ivanov" to Peter Shaffer's "Equus," from Ira Levin's "Deathtrap" to Tony Kushner's "A Bright Room Called Day" and Tina Howe's "Painting Churches." Her off-Broadway credits also include "The Ginger Man" and "Painting Churches."

Seldes' reliability and professionalism sealed her place in the Guinness World Records for a time after playing every performance during the run of "Deathtrap" from 1978 to 1982 - a total of 1,809 performances. Her record as most durable actress has since been broken by Catherine Russell, who logged over 11,000 performances in the off-Broadway production of "Perfect Crime."

Seldes, the daughter of author and journalist Gilbert Seldes, was twice married, to novelist and playwright Julian Claman, a union that ended in divorce in 1961, and then to playwright Garson Kanin, who died in 1999.

From 1969 to 1992 she served on the faculty of the Juilliard School, teaching the craft of acting to such pupils as Kline, Williams, Patti LuPone, Laura Linney, Mandy Patinkin and Christopher Reeve.

Seldes also acted in film, in "Mona Lisa Smile," ''Home Alone 3" and "Celebrity." On television she appeared in "Nurse Jackie" and played Candice Bergen's aunt in "Murphy Brown" and Mr. Big's mother in "Sex and the City." She also wrote two books: a memoir, "The Bright Lights: A Theater Life," and a novel, "Time Together."

Seldes, a slim and elegant woman who often wore her hair pulled back, studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and made her professional debut at age 17 in Robinson Jeffers' "Medea," with Anderson.

Her other Broadway credits include "Crime and Punishment," ''The Chalk Garden," ''The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore," Oliver Hailey's "Father's Day," for which she won a Drama Desk Award, Arnold Wesker's "The Merchant" and Kanin's "A Gift of Time."

In 1995, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, marking 50 years in the profession, but she missed the ceremony because - typically - she was on tour with "Three Tall Women" in Los Angeles.

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