Fritzi Burr, 78, veteran vaudeville comedian and actress of stage, television and film remembered as the formidable secretary trying to bar Jack Nicholson's access to officials in the movie "Chinatown," died Friday in Fort Myers, Fla., of unspecified causes.
Born in Philadelphia, Burr performed in little theater and in skits with the vaudeville comedy team of Smith and Dale. By the late 1950s, she was working on Broadway and appeared in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale," the show in which Barbra Streisand gained her first major attention. Later, Burr replaced Kaye Medford as the mother of Fanny Brice (played by Streisand) in "Funny Girl."
Burr worked regularly in small theaters and dinner theaters and in touring companies of such musicals as "Fiddler on the Roof," in which she played, at different times, Yente and Tevye's long-suffering wife, Golde. But, moving to Hollywood, she also found steady work as a character actress in motion pictures and on television. On the big screen, in addition to the 1974 "Chinatown," she was in such films as 1992's "3 Ninjas."
The versatile performer made repeated appearances in episodes of more than 20 TV series. Among them were "Love American Style," "The Odd Couple," "Sanford and Son," "Baretta," "The Rockford Files," "Moonlighting," "Seinfeld" and "Friends."