PATRICIA O'GRADY
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O'GRADY--Patricia Clare,

an obscure Off-Broadway actress, named publicly by esteemed director, Herbert Berghoff, one of the best actresses in the United States, died on March 12. She was 84 years of age. She died from injuries after being hit by a car near her home in Greenwich Village, New York City, according to her sister, Roberta O'Grady. Ms. O'Grady had a 50 year career in the theater, starting with a lead in an original high school musical in 1950 and ending in 2000 with "The Dora Project," a play at the HB Studio on the later life of Dora Maar, one of the mistresses of Pablo Picasso. In 1955, two weeks after graduating from UC Berkeley, she arrived in New York City and got her first paying job in a children's theater. She next joined a workshop on Chekov plays directed by Eva LaGallienne at the White Barn Theater in Westport, CT, where she played Masha in "The Seagull" and Irina in "The Three Sisters." She was a finalist for admission to the Actors' Studio and was accepted into Uta Hagen's acting class, where she studied for the next 12 years. Late in 1955, she appeared in her first Off- Broadway plays, "Shadow of a Gunman" and "The Apollo of Bellac," In 1956, '57 and '58, she performed with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival as the third witch in "Macbeth," Duchess of York in "Richard III" and Audrey in "As You Like It." She next was cast in the Off-Broadway production of "Playboy of the Western World," presented by the Irish Players, with whom she appeared in two more productions, "The Tinker's Wedding" and "Riders to the Sea," on tour to Boston and Chicago. Next followed a Broadway production of "Macbeth," staring Jason Robards in the title role and directed by Jose Quintero. Again she was cast as one of the witches, but, sadly, the play never came to Broadway after trying out in Cambridge, MA. Her next job was with the Playwrights Horizon production of "Santa Anita '42," regarding a Japanese Internment Camp at the beginning of World War II. In summer stock, she appeared at the Gateway Theater in Somers Point, New Jersey, as Viola in "Twelfth Night" and as Tracy Lord in "The Philadelphia Story." In late 1959, she returned to the HB Studio where she appeared in over 20 productions, mainly directed by Mr. Berghoff for the HB Playwrights Foundation. She also appeared on TV soap operas, "Another World" and "As the World Turns," and the TV special, "The Best of Families," and in the feature films, "Next Stoop Greenwich Village" and "An Unmarried Woman," directed by Paul Masursky; "Taxi Driver" directed by Martin Scorcese and "Arizona Dream," directed by Cannes Film Festival winner, Emir Kustericas. Ms. O'Grady often said that she "made a life in the theater without making a living in it," (A quote not original with her) and this was made possible by her Village apartment where she lived for over 60 years and paid under $30 per month rent! A friend once dubbed it a 'dump with character,' and as primitive as it was, it enabled her to do exactly what she wanted to do. The only non-acting jobs she ever had were modeling bookings for fashion illustrators which enabled her to pay for years of dance classes at the Joffrey Ballet School and with legendary choreographer, Anna Sokolow, as well as Master teachers Wilson Morelli and Jocelyn Lorenz. Ms O'Grady was born in Oakland, California on September 12, 1933 to Dr. H. W. O'Grady and Ethel Stone O'Grady. She is survived by her sister, Roberta O'Grady, of Alameda, California. Her partner of 16 years, summer stock producer and Director, David Fulford, predeceased her in 2009. There will be no funeral services. Contributions in her memory may be sent to the HB Playwrights Foundation, 120 Bank St., New York, NY 10014, or the Joffrey Ballet School, 434 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011.


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Published in New York Times on Mar. 22, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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52 entries
July 13, 2018
An inspiration to us all! How Actors are forgotten in the mix of this world! May you Rest in Peace and continue to shine as the Star you once were.
Lorie
July 2, 2018
Adam D
June 4, 2018
God bless you Miss O'Grady. Even in your death you are an inspiration. Rest in Peace.
Alicia Guinn
May 26, 2018
God Bless this great Artist! It is truly a marvel to consider the many thousands she still performs for and touches through her story, as told here and elsewhere since her passing. Now, that is Art!
An Audience Member
May 26, 2018
What a wonderful lady. An inspiring example how less is more yet she's left such great memories. God bless you Patricia.
Patrick Cuthbert
May 23, 2018
It is because of people with stories like that of Ms O'Grady that I will forever miss NYC. Best wishes to her as she moves on to her next great adventure.
Timothy Stevens
May 23, 2018
Thanks for sharing a great life.
May 22, 2018
She lived like most people, I guess, a quiet, happy, satisfied life having everything she needed, right there in her simple apartment in the greatest city in the world. I regret that she died such a tragic death. Condolences.
John Godfrey
May 16, 2018
Thanks for a GREAT story! She is truly an American icon.
An admirer
May 16, 2018
Definitely an inspiration. May you soar with other angels in heaven above.
Denise Duke
May 16, 2018
I read about Ms. O'Grady, what a remarkable lady!
Connie Simkus
May 16, 2018
May you dance with the stars....
Ramirez
May 16, 2018
Praying you are at peace. Condolences to your Family and Friends. You are an inspiration.
Vicky Corbello
May 16, 2018
Patricia O'Grady, we will be with you when God calls each one of us home to Heaven. You are an inspiration. You are an angel.
Ronny Andrew
May 16, 2018
I remember her face from TV mostly and always thought she was beautiful and has a very graceful appearance. I hope she enjoyed life to the fullest. Rest In Peace
Joy Hayes
May 15, 2018
She appears to have been a very strong lady who lived life on her own terms; very commendable!! Wish I could have seen you perform on stage. Rest in Peace Patricia.
Robert Rehill
May 15, 2018
What a life! You lived it on your terms, and will live on in the hearts and memories of your many friends and family.
Michael Szymanski
May 15, 2018
I never had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful ladyI thank you all that have cherished her courage The writing of this strong woman's life has found a warm spot within soul.
Mindy
May 15, 2018
Sounds like a life very well lived. We all should take this lead. RIP Patricia O'Grady. My hat is off to you!
Jay Thompson
May 15, 2018
May you rest in peace. I was so inspired by reading about your life. It seems you lived a truly bohemian life!
H Ward
May 15, 2018
A new Angel on the way to heaven.
Rest in Peace Patricia O'Grady.
Patricia H
May 15, 2018
Rest in Peace, lovely lady. Reading about you has been an inspiration to try and keep on going on. Peace and Blessings to your loved ones.
L A Toner
May 15, 2018
I did not have the pleasure of knowing Patricia. Just read the article about her. Wow- what an inspirational woman! May you Rest In Peace.
Bernadette
May 15, 2018
Rest In Peace!! <3
Jannette Garcia
May 15, 2018
After reading of your passing, I see that you were a beautiful woman and a great inspiration. May you rest in peace.
Louise M
May 15, 2018
after reading your story you where such a inspiration wish I had know you. Rest in peace
Tommy
May 15, 2018
you are a inspiration to me rest in peace
Tommy
May 15, 2018
what a wonderful life
May 15, 2018
I wish I had gotten to know this sweet sweet strong lady who from all the comments touched everyone she came in contact with either in person or by just reading her story or through her love of the arts. She is what we all dream of being New Yorker means. Although it is so sad for such a kind soul to leave this life in tragedy, she lived her dreams. And without knowing her personally I believe she would not have had it any other way. My sincere condolences to her family and friends who she dearly loved and who loved her. There is void in her community that will not be filled her quietness filled her surroundings.
Deneen
May 15, 2018
Rest In Peace. You dared to live the life most of us don't have the courage to.
Neil
May 15, 2018
Never too old for dreams to come true
You are a inspiration after reading about you. Your like the Mother Teresa of Theatre. May you Rest In Peace and perform for the Angels.
Katina Botten
May 15, 2018
May you Rest In Peace Ms.Patricia O'Grady......... You were a true classy lady.... Wished there were more people like you. You're a true inspiration to the world and for me.
Christopher Martinez
May 15, 2018
I didn't know Ms O'Grady but upon reading about her I wish I had. There is so much to learn from a person like her. It's so refreshing to know there are some that choose to live their life in a way to actually enjoy it and not just to make money to acquire "stuff". I am inspired by her. Rest in heaven Ms O'Grady!!
Jewel W
May 15, 2018
Dance like no one is watching .
It's too bad the world didn't make time for this lady the day she died . It's heartwarming knowing that she had a place to call home for so long and was never homeless,despite the obvious living conditions.Inspirational to know she attended dance class up until her death .Rest In Peace Miss O"Grady
deanna stevens
May 15, 2018
Rest In Peace Always
I was our court appointed guardian for over a year and all of them were around our age. They were all beautiful however she is the special one and the most beautiful! RIP
Gloria
May 14, 2018
My wife and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Patrica. We had the pleasure of meeting her on the train on our way to California in August 2007. We visited with her for many hours as she told us her life story, such an interesting lady. She was also interested to hear about us as we traveling to meet up with our son a Roman Catholic Priest studying in California. Visiting and dining with her was one of the best parts of the trip. William V, Ft Dodge IA
William Vit
May 13, 2018
I'm sorry I didn't know you. You are an inspiration to live the life of one's dreams. I lived in the Village during some of your early years there. Great place, great time. Dance on! Condolences to your sister.
Cory S
May 13, 2018
May your peace be eternal
Rest in peace, Patricia.
Gregory Spalding
May 13, 2018
What an inspiration to all you were. Wish I would have had the pleasure to know you better. You were the best of the best....rest in peace sweet lady.....
Danielle
Friend
May 13, 2018
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
May 11, 2018
You are a vestige of the Village that I love and represented the best of what NYC was. You are a tough act to follow!
Dina Di Maio
May 11, 2018
Sending my condolences from Canada. After reading her story of her apartment and finding her love for dancing and acting, I can sense her strong will and love for tradition. Keep dancing Patricia and condolences to her sister and family
Urich San Juan III
May 11, 2018
I did not know Patricia O'Grady but I did see some of her works growing up and loving TV & old movies. Apparently she had a tough heart, a strength to drive forward, and the gumption to stick to her guns when it came to how she wanted to live her life. From reading an article about it her it appears she loved her life, loved her passions and loved the people. Her dream was to be a star and she now will forever be a shimmering star in the sky for everyone to see. R.I.P. Ms. O'Grady.
melissa w
May 11, 2018
Peace be with you dear lady.
Louise
May 10, 2018
I knew nothing about this woman until the story of her rent controlled apartment hit the news tonight. The little bit I have been able to find out about her, it seems she was a very strong willed individual who did things her way with all the consequences that can sometimes bring. I only hope that her last few days were not in pain. I know for sure that she's in heaven! God bless her and her sister.
Catherine Winteringham, RN, BSN
May 10, 2018
Though I never met this woman, she sounds like she was a true New York treasure. I hope that you are dancing with the angels, Ms. O'Grady.
John B
May 10, 2018
Just learned of Patricia's death. She was a friend from Uta Hagen's class in the mid-'80s -- a true artist with a generous soul. I wanted to help get upgrades in her apartment, but she wouldn't hear of it; it was all she needed. She was happy to be paying the lowest rent in town!
Patricia clearly didn't need more acting training, but wanted to keep challenging herself. She was a vibrant presence at HB Studio and her memory is a blessing.
Sam Guncler
April 8, 2018
My family is so sad to hear of her passing. She was a devout parishioner of St. Francis Xavier Church and attended the 9:00 am mass every Sunday, despite the obvious difficulty she had in walking. Her obvious devotion to her faith was a silent inspiration to us all. May God welcome her home.
A Parishoner
April 2, 2018
Pat was devoted to the Joffrey Ballet school in the West Village where she had been taking classes for many years up until days before her death. Her presence will be greatly missed.
stephanie Godino
March 31, 2018
Patricia was a parishioner at St Francis Xavier Parish where I am pastor. I didn't know about the circumstances of her death. Tonight at the Easter Vigil we will remember Patricia in a special way. Fr Bob Vereecke S.J.
March 25, 2018
I HELPED THIS LOVELY LADY ACROSS 6TH AVE JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE SHE WAS HIT BY A CAR. SHE WAS SO FRAIL AND BENT SHE WAS A AFRAID SHE WOULD BE BLOWN OVER BY THAT AFTERNOON'S STRONG WIND. THERE WAS NO TRAFFIC LIGHT LONG ENOUGH TO ALLOW HER TO GET ACROSS A WIDE AVENUE LIKE 6TH AVENUE ON TIME - EVEN WITH HELP. YET IT WAS SOMETHING SHE MUST HAVE DOME EVERY DAY. SHE WAS APPARENTLY A GENTLE SOUL WITH THE RESILIENCE AND FORTITUDE OF A SAINT - - NEVER SPEAKING UNLESS SPOKEN TO BUT THEN RESPONDING WITH WITH A VOICE AND A SPIRIT SUCH THAT IF YOU LOOKED AWAY YOU WOULD THINK YOU WERE TALKING WITH A THIRTY-YEAR OLD WOMAN. SADLY, BECAUSE OF THAT RESERVE AND COMPOSURE SHE WAS KNOWN TO HUNDREDS HERE IN THE VILLAGE, BUT FEW WHO KNEW HER,AS I HAD THE PLEASURE A FEW TIMES ON THE BENCH AT MURRY'S BAGELS WHERE SHE WOULD REST SOMETIMES BEFORE WHAT MUST HAVE BEEN THE TWENTY MINUTE TRIAL OF THE FOUR FLIGHTS OF STAIRS TO HER APARTMENT. I WISH I HAD BEEN THERE THAT FATAL MORNING WHEN SHE FINALLY DID'T MAKE IT ALL THE WAY ACROSS 6TH AVENUE, BUT i KNOW IF THERE IS A HEAVEN SHE IS THERE - DANCING - AGAIN AT LAST.
A NEIGHBOR
March 23, 2018
I attended the YMCA with Ms O'Grady. She could always be found in a corner reading. I pray her soul is at rest. Prayers for her family.
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