Tony Winner Frances Sternhagen, Star of ‘Cheers,' ‘ER,' Passes Away at 93

Veteran Actress Sternhagen Leaves a Lasting Legacy in Film.

by Nouman Rasool
Tony Winner Frances Sternhagen, Star of ‘Cheers,' ‘ER,' Passes Away at 93
© Jemal Countess/GettyImages

The entertainment world mourns the loss of Frances Sternhagen, an accomplished Tony-winning actress whose luminous career spanned over six decades, encompassing stage, screen, and television. Sternhagen passed away on Monday due to natural causes in New Rochelle, N.Y., leaving behind a legacy that has touched countless hearts in the world of drama and beyond.

Sternhagen, affectionately known as Frannie to her family, friends, and colleagues, was renowned for her versatile talent, seamlessly transitioning between comedy and drama, character roles, and leading parts. Her foundational roots in theater blossomed into a diverse career, making her a familiar face in both film and television, as well as a recognized voice in spoken arts.

Perhaps most memorable among her myriad of roles were her portrayals on the small screen. She captivated audiences as the aristocratic grandmother of Dr. John Carter, played by Noah Wyle, in the critically acclaimed medical drama "ER".

Additionally, her role as Esther Clavin, the mother of Cliff Clavin on the beloved sitcom "Cheers," earned her two Emmy nominations, cementing her status as a television icon.

Illustrious Film Career

Sternhagen's film career was equally illustrious.

She left a lasting impact with her performance as the doctor aiding Sean Connery's character in Peter Hyams' 1981 science fiction film "Outland." Her role in the thriller "Misery" as Virginia, the sheriff's wife, showcased her ability to add depth to every character she portrayed.

Sternhagen's filmography also includes notable appearances in "Julie and Julia," "Starting Over," "Independence Day," and "Doc Hollywood." Echoing her role in "ER," Sternhagen delighted fans with her recurring appearance on "S---x and the City" as Bunny MacDougal, the patrician mother of Trey MacDougal, portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan.

This role garnered her a 2002 Emmy nomination, further testifying to her enduring appeal and versatility as an actress. Frances Sternhagen's passing marks the end of an era in American theater and television. Her remarkable ability to bring characters to life, her dedication to her craft, and her enduring influence on both her audience and peers will ensure that her legacy endures for generations to come.

Her family's statement poignantly captures the essence of her remarkable journey: a hardworking, award-winning actress who was both beloved and celebrated in equal measure.