Cabaret star Julie Wilson dies at 90 in New York

NEW YORK (AP) — Julie Wilson, a musical theater actress and cabaret star who earned a Tony Award nomination and was cheered for her ability to harness the songs of Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter, has died. She was 90.

Christopher Denny, Wilson’s friend, said she died Sunday in New York after having suffered two strokes over the last several days.

Upon learning the news of her death, the Broadway icon Kristin Chenoweth tweeted: “Broadway’s loss. Heaven’s gain.”

Wilson’s most famous stage role was the 1988 Peter Allen musical “Legs Diamond,” for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include “Park” in 1970, “The Girl in the Freudian Slip” in 1967 and was a replacement for the role of Babe Williams in the original run of “The Pajama Game.”

But it was as a singer — known for her interpretations of such songwriters as Sondheim, Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern and Porter — that made the biggest impressions, from recordings like “Julie Wilson Sings the Cy Coleman Songbook” to her live sets at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel.

Denny, who was a friend for 30 years, called her his “second mother” and praised her for being “one of my life’s greatest teachers and an example of humility, compassion, kindness and generosity which I never expect to see equaled.”

Wilson was born Oct 21, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, and recorded several albums, including “My Old Flame,” ”Live From the Russian Tea Room” and “Julie Wilson at the St. Regis.”

She is survived by her son, actor, writer, and producer Holt McAloney.

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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