Helen Hanft, the Bronx-born comedic actress who was a leading star of the off-off Broadway theater movement of the 1960s and 70s, has died in New York City on May 29, 2013. She was 79.
Hanft’s longtime publicist and friend Alan Eichler says Saturday she died from intestinal complications Thursday at Roosevelt Hospital.
Eichler says Hanft became known as the “Helen Hayes of Off-Off Broadway” for her experimental theater work. She had great personal success in David Rabe’s “In the Boom Boom Room” at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater.
Eichler says she commanded the stage “with an Ethel Merman-like bravura.”
By the mid-1970s, Hanft appeared in movies, such as Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and Paul Mazursky’s “Next Stop Greenwich Village.”
She is survived by her sister, a niece and nephews.