Actress Julie Harris passed away Saturday at age 87. Harris died at her West Chatham, Mass., home of congestive heart failure, actress and family friend Francesca James said.
Harris won a record five Tony Awards for best actress in a play, displaying a virtuosity that enabled her to portray an astonishing gallery of women during a theater career that spanned almost 60 years and included such plays as "The Member of the Wedding" (1950), "The Lark" (1955), "Forty Carats" (1968) and The "Last of Mrs. Lincoln" (1972).
She was honored again with a sixth Tony, a special lifetime achievement award in 2002. Only Angela Lansbury has neared her record, winning four Tonys in the best actress-musical category and one for best supporting actress in a play.
Harris had suffered a stroke in 2001 while she was in Chicago appearing in a production of Claudia Allen's "Fossils." She suffered another stroke in 2010, James said.
"I'm still in sort of a place of shock," said James, who stars in ALL MY CHILDREN.
"She was, really, the greatest influence in my life," said James, who had known Harris for about 50 years.
Television viewers knew Harris as the free-spirited Lilimae Clements on the primetime soap opera KNOTS LANDING from 1980 to 1987. Lilimae was the mother of Valene (Joan Van Ark) and Joshua (Alec Baldwin).
In the movies, she was James Dean's romantic co-star in East of Eden (1955), and had roles in such films as Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), The Haunting (1963) and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967).
Yet Harris' biggest successes and most satisfying moments have been on stage. "The theater has been my church," the actress once said. "I don't hesitate to say that I found God in the theater."
Harris was married three times, to lawyer Jay I. Julian, stage manager Manning Gurian and writer William Erwin Carroll. She had one son, Peter Alston Gurian.
- CLASSIC CLIPS: Julie Harris as Lilimae Clements on KNOTS LANDING