Frances Sternhagen, age ninety-three, has made her grand exit from the stage of life. In a somber announcement shared with CNN, her representative confirmed the passing of the seasoned actress, lauding her for remarkable performances in prominent films and television series. The news of her peaceful departure due to natural causes in New Rochelle, NY on November 27th, 2023, was delivered through a statement from her family, expressing their profound sadness at the loss. Survived by her six children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, a mid-January celebration of her extraordinary life is planned, commemorating her 94th birthday.
John Carlin, Sternhagen’s son, took to Instagram to pay homage to his mother, describing her as beloved by many and expressing heartfelt gratitude for the privilege of calling her not only a mother but a dear friend and dance partner.
Carlin’s touching tribute was accompanied by a photograph of Sternhagen, a visage of a woman who had lived a life celebrated both for its talent and kindness.
Sternhagen’s distinguished career was defined by her proficiency on stage, screen, and television. She was known for her roles in various Stephen King film adaptations, immortalizing herself in the 2007 film “The Mist,” and in “Misery” alongside Kathy Bates.
However, it was her portrayal of Bunny MacDougal in the iconic television series “Sex and the City” that cinched her place as a titan in the industry. The role garnered her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, adding yet another accolade to a long list of achievements. Her prior two Emmy nominations were garnered in the early 1990s for her role as Esther, the mother of Cliff Clavin in the beloved sitcom “Cheers.”
But the zenith of Sternhagen’s career resided in her theatrical feats, which commenced with her debut on Broadway in 1955. From there, she embarked on a theatrical journey, leaving her indelible mark with acclaimed performances in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor,” “Equus,” “On Golden Pond,” and “Angel.” With an impressive tally of seven Tony Award nominations and three wins, Sternhagen’s contributions to the stage were nothing short of legendary.
Her son, Carlin, intimately recounted moments spent together in a recent reflection, highlighting her unwavering support for his own creative pursuits and her love for his singing. His farewell to his mother, “Fly on, Frannie. The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly, and generously lived,” encapsulated the profundity of his loss and the enduring legacy of his mother’s life.
Frances Sternhagen’s life and career are commemorated in every role she played, each stage she graced, and every heart she touched. She has forever left an impression, her spirit embodying the tenets of artistry, kindness, and love. Her memory lives on, resonating in the echelons of stage, screen, and the hearts of all those who were captured by her unwavering talent and remarkable spirit. Her legacy is etched in the annals of entertainment with a pen of gold, marking her as a luminary whose brilliance will forever remain undiminished.