NEW YORK -- Carrie Nye, an actress who was a regular presence on the stages of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, died Friday of lung cancer. She was 69.
Ms. Nye, who was married to television host Dick Cavett, died at her home in Manhattan.
Ms. Nye made her Broadway debut in 1960 in ``A Second String," an adaptation of a novel by Colette , and earned a Tony nomination five years later by playing a society lady in the musical ``Half a Sixpence."
Ms. Nye appeared in many other Broadway productions, including ``A Very Rich Woman," by Ruth Gordon, and a 1980 revival of ``The Man Who Came to Dinner." She also performed off-Broadway, in Michael Cacoyannis's production of ``The Trojan Women" in 1963 and Tom Stoppard's ``Real Inspector Hound" in 1972.
But it was at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires where Ms. Nye spent much of her career, appearing in 24 of its productions over 31 years.
``Carrie Nye will be remembered as a woman whose vibrant spirit and wonderful acting in many roles enriched the festival," said Roger Rees, Williamstown's artistic director. ``I fondly remember many summer afternoons spent at her home in Montauk, where she reminisced about Tennessee Williams's visits to the Berkshires and his great affection for the Williamstown Theatre Festival."
Her first appearance at Williamstown was in 1958 as Margaret in ``Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," and other memorable roles included Hedda Gabler, Blanche Dubois in ``A Streetcar Named Desire," and Anya in ``Nude With Violin." Her last Williamstown appearance was as Zelda Fitzgerald in ``Clothes For A Summer Hotel" in 1989.
``She really was an extraordinary actress," said writer-producer Ellen Weston, who first knew Ms. Nye when they were young actresses at the festival, which is at Williams College.
``I remember when she did Blanche in `Streetcar Named Desire,' " Weston told the Los Angeles Times. ``Even as a kid, her understanding of that character was extraordinary, so beyond the life knowledge of a 21-year-old."
Offstage, Ms. Nye has been described as being ``wickedly witty," a phrase that Cavett said best sums up his wife's sense of humor.
``To me it does," he told the Times, ``and it probably would for a few victims of it."
A prime example of his wife's wit, he said, was a 1973 essay she wrote for Time magazine about working with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the critically blasted two-part TV-movie ``Divorce His Divorce Hers."
Describing her first meeting with Burton at a studio in Munich, Ms. Nye wrote:
``My acting chore for the day was to be introduced to Himself and launch without further ado into a long, loud and boring scene during which I was to be 1) obstreperous, 2) a general nuisance and 3) drunk as a billy goat. All went as anticipated except for one detail. The Star had beaten me to the punch."
The daughter of a bank president, Ms. Nye was born Carolyn Nye McGeoy in Greenwood, Miss. After attending Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., she went to the Yale Drama School, where she met Cavett, then a Yale senior taking a few classes in the drama school.
Ms. Nye and Cavett, her only immediate survivor, were married in 1964. They bought Tick Hall, a shingle-style beach house on Long Island in New York built in the late 1800s. It burned down in 1997, but Ms. Nye had it meticulously and exactly rebuilt, down to the smallest details. The rebuilding process was recorded in a 2003 documentary, ``From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall."
In later years, she virtually quit acting altogether, Cavett said, although she returned to acting for the last time in 2003 with a role on ``The Guiding Light" as the evil Carolyn Carruthers -- a part written by her friend Weston, then head writer of the soap opera.
``When you write something like that, you need someone who can give you all the shadings of evil, of charm, of wit, and so, of course, I thought of Carrie Nye," Weston said. ``She was such an interesting mixture of tremendous wit, tremendous intelligence, great style, and a total lack of interest in doing things the way anybody else did them.
``She was totally her own person and yet this was a woman who, if you were a friend of hers, would go to the wall for you on any level. She was a woman who in the early days of AIDS nursed friends of hers, allowed them to stay on property that she had and took care of them. She was the most interesting combination of humanist and iconoclast."
Material from the Los Angeles Times was used in this obituary.