SAG-AFTRA mourns the passing of performer Nanette Fabray, who died Feb. 22 at the age of 97. The multi-talented Fabray, who joined the union in 1937, was the 1986 recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the union’s highest honor.
Fabray began her acting career at the age of 5, appearing as Baby Nan in vaudeville. She became a leading lady in radio, moving successfully to stage and film in such features as Elizabeth and Essex, A Child is Born, The Band Wagon and Harper Valley P.T.A. Her television credits included One Day at a Time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Coach, which starred Fabray’s niece Shelley Fabares, a former SAG National Board member. Her work garnered her numerous accolades, including a Tony and three Emmys.
Fabray, who was herself hearing impaired, was an advocate for education and assistance of the deaf and hearing impaired. She traveled and lobbied extensively to implement sign language interpretation and on television. At the time she received the award, she had been appointed by then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill to the U.S. Senate Commission on Education and the Deaf.
“A true performer and star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Nanette Fabray had limitless exuberance and an expert sense of comic timing,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Her dedication to her art was equaled only by her generosity and willingness to help others.”