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Video : Tonys on Tape

June 04, 1995|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Broadway honors its best Sunday when CBS presents "The 49th Annual Tony Awards." Glenn Close, a best actress nominee for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Sunset Boulevard," Gregory Hines and Nathan Lane are the hosts of the ceremony telecast this year from New York's Minskoff Theatre.

The nominees for best play are Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia"; Emily Mann's "Having Our Say"; Jean Cocteau's "Indiscretions," and Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!" In a particularly anemic musical season, only "Sunset Boulevard" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe" are nominated for best new musical.

Over the decades, numerous Tony Award-winning actors have reprised their Broadway roles for the silver screen. In honor of the Tonys, here's a look at award-winning non-musical performances currently available on home video:

"Come Back, Little Sheba" (Paramount Home Video): Broadway star Shirley Booth received the 1950 best actress Tony for her memorable performance in William Inge's drama. She plays a good-hearted housewife married to an alcoholic ex-chiropractor. Two years later, Booth made her film debut in the acclaimed movie version and won the best actress Oscar. Burt Lancaster and Terry Moore also star.

"The Seven Year Itch" (Fox Video): Tom Ewell won the best actor Tony in 1953 for his indelible turn in George Axelrod's popular sex farce as a happily married man who fantasizes about the beautiful woman (Vanessa Brown) living upstairs while his wife and son are away for summer vacation. Two years later, Ewell played the lovestruck husband in Billy Wilder's enjoyable film adaptation, which starred Marilyn Monroe as the luscious neighbor.

"Tea and Sympathy" (MGM/UA): In 1954, John Kerr won the best featured actor Tony for his performance in Robert Anderson's play as a sensitive high school student who has an affair with a teacher's wife (Deborah Kerr). Both Kerrs (no relation) and Leif Erickson, who played the teacher, were brought out to Hollywood for the 1956 film directed by Vincente Minnelli.

"The Bad Seed" (Warner Home Video): Nancy Kelly received the 1955 best actress Tony for her role in Maxwell Anderson's chilling play as the mother of a young girl (Patty McCormack) who's "inherited evil" causes the deaths of several people. Kelly and McCormack are terrific in the 1956 film version--both received Oscar nominations.

"Auntie Mame" (Warner Home Video): Rosalind Russell was the recipient of a Tony nomination for her larger-than-life performance as a vibrant, eccentric aunt of a young orphan in Jerome Lawrence-Robert F. Lee's comedy. Peggy Cass won the Tony for best featured actress for her hilarious turn as Miss Gooch, Mame's plain-Jane assistant. Both received Oscar nominations for their turns in the popular 1958 film.

"Sunrise at Campobello" (Warner Home Video): Ralph Bellamy won the 1958 best actor Tony for Dory Schary's drama chronicling Franklin Delano Roosevelt's battle with politics and polio. Bellamy reprised his warm portrayal of FDR in the 1960 film version, but failed to receive a best actor nomination.

"The Subject Was Roses" (MGM/UA): Jack Albertson received the 1965 best featured actor Tony for Frank D. Gilroy's moving three-character play about a young veteran's (Martin Sheen) strained relationship with his battling parents. Albertson, repeating his role as a middle-aged man fallen out of love with his wife in the the 1968 film version, received the best supporting actor Oscar. Sheen, who received a Tony nomination for the original production, also was cast in the movie, which marked Patricia Neal's return to the screen after she suffered a stroke.

"The Great White Hope" (Fox Video): Both James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander took Broadway by storm in 1969 with their powerhouse performances in Howard Sackler's Tony Award-winning drama. Jones received a best actor Tony as black heavyweight champion Jack Jefferson; Alexander won a best featured actress award playing his white mistress. The following year, the two both received Oscar nominations for the Martin Ritt-directed film.

"Same Time, Next Year" (MCA Universal): The year 1975 was a big one for actress Ellen Burstyn. Not only did she win the best actress Oscar for "Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More," she also received a best actress Tony for Bernard Slade's comedy-drama about an adulterous couple who meet one day a year for 26 years. Burstyn also received an Oscar nomination for her charming turn in the moderately entertaining 1978 film version, which starred Alan Alda as her lover.

"Foxfire" (Republic Home Video): Jessica Tandy received her third best actress Tony for this poignant 1983 drama co-starring her husband Hume Cronyn. Tandy plays an elderly woman living in Appalachia who refuses to leave her home, where she still communicates with her dead husband. Tandy also received the 1988 Emmy Award for her performance in the touching "Hallmark Hall of Fame" adaptation.

"The 49th Annual Tony Awards" airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS.

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