70 (passed away Jan. 19th, 2008)
Jan. 31st, 1937
New York City, New York, USA
Suzanne Pleshette's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1971 - Support Your Local Gunfighter
1969 - If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
1968 - Blackbeard's Ghost
1967 - The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
1966 - Nevada Smith
1966 - The Ugly Dachshund
1963 - The Birds
1962 - 40 Pounds of Trouble
Guest TV Roles
Nurse Cathy Benjamin
Pleshette achieved television immortality in her role as Bob Newhart's wife on the 1970s classic situation-comedy "The Bob Newhart Show". For her role as Emily Hartley, who was married to a psychologist played by 'Bob Newhart', Pleshette was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in 1977 and 1978. She also was nominated for an Emmy in 1962 for a guest appearance on the TV series "Dr. Kildare" and in 1991 for playing the eponymous Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean in a 1990 TV movie. Her acting career lasted almost 50 years.
Suzanne was born to Eugene Pleshette, a TV network executive who had managed the Paramount Theaters in Manhattan and in Brooklyn during the Big Band era, and the former Geraldine Kaplan, a dancer who performed under the pseudonym Geraldine Rivers.
Blessed with a husky voice and good looks, Pleshette claims that she was not an acting natural, but just "found" herself attending New York City's High School of the Performing Arts. After graduating high school, she attended Syracuse University for a semester before returning to New York City to go to Finch College, an elite finishing school for well-to-do young ladies. After a semester at Finch, Pleshette dropped out of college to take lessons from famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
She made her Broadway debut in 1957 as part of the supporting cast for the play Compulsion. Initially cast as "The Fourth Girl," she eventually took over the ingénue role during the play's run.
Pleshette made her TV debut in "Harbourmaster" in 1957, then was chosen as the female lead opposite superstar Jerry Lewis his 1958 comedy The Geisha Boy. On Broadway, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway hit The Miracle Worker.
Her most famous role in cinema was in Alfred Hitchcock's late classic The Birds, playing the brunette school teacher jilted by the hero of the film, Mitch Brenner. Contrasted with blonde ice queen Melanie Daniels, Pleshette's Annie Heyworth was as earthy, warm and frankly sexual as Hedren's Melanie was cold and strangely asexual, something airy and of the sky like the birds that would peck Annie to death near the film's climax.
Still, it is for Emily Hartley she will always be remembered, for both the original show and her part in another show that had the most clever sign-off episode in TV series history. Bob Newhart had enjoyed a second success during the 1980s with his TV sit-com "Newhart", and when he decided to end that series, he asked Suzanne Pleshette to come back. She did, reprising her tole of Emily in a final episode of Newhart, where Newhart woke up as Bob Hartley from "The Bob Newhart Show" in the bedroom of the Hartley's Chicago apartment, Pleshette's Emily at his side. Bob Hartley then told his wife Emily of a crazy dream he'd just had, where he was the proprietor of a Vermont inn overrun with eccentrics, the premise of the second show.
After "The Bob Newhart Show" ceased production, Suzanne Pleshette worked regularly on television, mostly in TV movies. Although she was a talented dramatic actress, she had a flair for comedy, and in 1984, she headlined her own series at CBS, which had run "The Bob Newhart Show." She helped develop the half-hour sit-com, and even had the rare honor of having her name in the title. "Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs", however, was not a success. She co-starred with Hal Linden in another short-lived CBS TV series "The Boys Are Back" in the 1994-95 season, then had recurring roles in the TV series "Good Morning, Miami" and "8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter."
Pleshette was married three times. In 1964, she married teen idol Troy Donahue, her co-star in the 1962 film "Rome Adventure" and in 1964's "A Distant Trumpet," but the marriage failed in less than a year. She was far more successful in her 1968 nuptials to Texas oil millionaire Tim Gallagher, whom she remained married to until his death in 2000. After becoming a widow, she and widower Tom Poston rekindled an old romance that they had enjoyed when appearing together in "The Golden Fleecing," a 1959 Broadway comedy. They were married from 2001 until Poston's death in April 2007.
Pleshette, died of respiratory failure on Saturday, January 19, 2008. She was 70 years old. She suffered from lung cancer and had undergone chemotherapy treatments in the summer of 2006. Pleshette rallied, but in late 2007, she barely survived a bout of pneumonia.
- Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, posthumously, on her birthday, January 31, 2008.
- Cousin of 'John Pleshette' (qv).
- Was the producers' original choice for the role on Catwoman on the _"Batman" (1966)_ (qv) TV show. When negotiations broke down, the part went to 'Julie Newmar' (qv), who made it her own.
- Is buried a family plot at Hillside Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California; next to her second husband, Tom Gallagher, and her parents.
- December 2000 - Announced her engagement to 'Tom Poston' (qv), age 79. Each had co-starred on a 'Bob Newhart' (qv) show, but different versions - she was in the 1970s version, he was in the 1980s. However, Poston appeared in a recurring role on the '70s version as Bob Hartley's old friend Cliff "The Peeper" Murdock. Pleshette also appeared on the '80s version finale that is one of the best finales of all time -- a segue between the two shows.
- Stepmother of 'Francesca Poston' (qv) and 'Jason Poston' (qv).
- Childhood friend of 'Faye Michael Nuell' (qv) (aka Faye Mayo) and Kari Champion (Widow of 'Gower Champion' (qv)).
- Underwent chemotherapy treatment at Los Angeles' Cedar-Sinai Medical Center for lung cancer [August 2006].