Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70

January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette, an actress who played Bob’s wife Emily on the ‘Bob Newhart Show,’ died at her home in Los Angeles. You can read her biography and see her photos below.

In the months preceding her death, Suzanne had undergone chemotherapy for lung cancer. She had also fought pneumonia, which caused her to attend the Bob Newhart cast reunion in a wheelchair last September.

“I never thought I’d be here tonight. I have three doctors here tonight who kept me alive,” she commented.

Suzanne lost her battle yesterday and the official cause of death released was respiratory failure.

Suzanne Pleshette Biography

Suzanne Pleshette was born in New York City on January 31, 1937 where she grew up and attended school at the New York High School of the Performing Arts. After high school she went on to Syracuse University but show business was clearly in her blood. Her mother, Geraldine Pleshette, was a dancer and her father, Eugene Pleshette, was a player behind the scenes. He started out as the VP of the Paramount Theater in New York, moved to VP of ABC, and then moved to California to manage the Shubert Theater.

Although she is best know for playing Emily on the ‘Bob Newhart Show,’ Suzanne started on the stage where she performed in plays, most notably ‘The Miracle Worker.’ She went on to star in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and throughout her career, she starred in numerous made for tv movies. You may also remember her from ‘Will and Grace’ when she guest starred as Karen’s mother. In her passing, Time Magazine may have given the best description of Suzanne and her acting ability.

Her face had ready-made drama: jet-black hair framing kabuki-white skin. Her gray-blue eyes could smolder on cue or, more readily, crease into a smile. The sultry voice and famously knowing laugh suggested a woman who had been places, had fun there and come back intact. Suzanne Pleshette was a perfect fit for the movies’ golden age, in sophisticated romantic comedy or the kind of elevated soap opera where she could lure a man to hell or sacrifice all in a tearful close-up.

Pleshette was married three times in her life. Her first marriage was to Troy Donahue, but ended shortly after it started. Her second husband, Tom Gallagher, was a wealthy businessman who died in 2000. The couple was married from 1968 until his death. In 2001, she married her former Newhart co-star Tom Poston. Poston died in April of last year from respiratory failure.

You can see more pictures of Suzanne Pleshette below.

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