Frances Sternhagen, an award-winning actress on the stage, on the big screen, and on TV has passed away at 93, according to People magazine.
Her family said in a statement, "It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear mother, actress Frances Sternhagen, died peacefully of natural causes in New Rochelle, NY, on November 27th, 2023 at the age of 93."
"She is survived by her 6 children, 9 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren," the statement added. "A celebration of her remarkable career and life is planned for mid-January, near her 94th birthday. We continue to be inspired by her love and life."
Sternhagen's son, John Carlin, posted to Instagram on Wednesday a more heartfelt and personal tribute to his mother, along with several pictures of her at different points in her fulsome life.
Frannie. Mom. Frances Sternhagen," Carlin wrote. "On Monday night, Nov 27, she died peacefully at her home, a month and a half shy of her 94th birthday. I will post more soon, but for now I just want to give thanks for the remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen."
"She was beloved by many. I'm very lucky I was able to call her my mom, my friend, my song and dance partner. We were together last week, and we spoke Monday afternoon, said how much we loved and missed one another," he continued. "I was about to board a plane for London when I got the news, and am there now. Set to perform some new songs (one of which was inspired by her) this weekend. She always encouraged my writing, and enjoyed my singing. I’ll fly back very early the next day."
The grieving son added, "Fly on, Frannie. The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly and generously lived."
The Associated Press reported that Frances Sternhagen was born in 1930 in Washington D.C., and though she loved to "perform" and be a "shameful show-off" in front of others as a child, she never actually considered pursuing acting as a career until she attended Vassar College in New York as a history major and performed as a hobby on the side, after which she briefly worked as a drama teacher for students in the Boston area.
Soon thereafter, she began working in various theater productions and it was during a production in Maryland that she met her future husband, fellow actor Thomas Carlin, with whom she had six children before he passed away in 1991 due to heart failure.
The AP noted that Sternhagen said of her acting career in a 1981 interview, "I thought I would try it, see if I liked it, and then get out. But you never get out. It’s an addiction, because it touches your emotions, because it’s where you want to live," and added, "I think those of us who can stay in it are just plain lucky."
Over the course of her decades-long career as a "character actor" able to fill most roles both on and off Broadway, Sternhagen won two Tony Awards and was nominated for several others. She also worked for decades as a TV actress and received multiple nominations for Emmy Awards for her work.
According to her IMDb page, Sternhagen had 76 film and TV acting credits to her name between 1951 and 2014, including such films as "Outland," "Misery," "Raising Cain," and "The Mist," among others.
She was arguably most famous for her recurring and typecast roles as an overbearing maternal figure in several popular TV series, including "Cheers," "The Road Home," "Sex and the City," "ER," and "The Closer."
People noted that Sternhagen had once said in a 2002 interview about those particular roles, "I must say it’s fun to play these snobby older ladies. It’s always more fun to be obnoxious. I have known women like that, and I can imitate them, I guess."