A Tribute To Julie Harris (1925-2013)

Frozen in my mind’s eye, Julie Harris always (despite her non-stop growth as an actress) conjures up images of her role as “Frankie” in MEMBER OF THE WEDDING. Perhaps this is because it was televised two, and sometimes, three times a year via WTTV Central Indiana, where I grew up. It seems to me that I watched it as often as I could in those pre-adolescent days–drawn to something in Julie Harris that connected to some personal inner sanctum that remains intact after all these years.

THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING 1952

THE HAUNTING 1963
“The dead are not quiet in Hill House.”

My first time to see this story of Hill House, The Haunting, was also via television. I vividly remember when Julie Harris asks, “Whose hand was I holding?”–I was terrified from that moment forward, afraid to walk up the stairs to go to bed, convinced that I would wake up & experience the same thing. I absorbed the fear that she projected as my own, such was the power of her acting. The power of the acting & the projection of fear, all done without special effects–just a good script & the talent of those who gave it life.

Truth of the matter was Julie Harris went on to create other iconic roles, particularly as Poet Emily Dickinson.

THE BELLE OF AMHERST 1976

Thanks to You Tube, I can now see Belle of Amherst & thought it fitting to add this to my tribute to this fine performer, who translated a full life into the roles that she played. She left the world of theatre a richer one for all of us.

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