January 31, 1937
New York City, New York, U.S.
January 19, 2008 (age 70)
Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actress, voice artist, and comedienne, best known for portraying Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show and starring in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. She voiced Zira in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
Pleshette was born in New York City, New York, on January 31, 1937. She became a graduate of Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts and transferred to study social work at Syracuse University before starting her entertainment career in earnest.
Pleshette made her Broadway debut with the 1957 play, Compulsion. In 1958, she won good reviews for supporting roles in Broadway shows such as S.N. Behrman's drama, The Cold Wind and the Warm. Three years later, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker as Annie Sullivan when Bancroft left to star in the movie adaptation of the play.
With her Broadway fame accomplished, Pleshette also began a prolific television career in such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ben Casey, and The Fugitive. In 1961, Hitchcock cast her as Annie Hayworth in the 1963 suspense thriller, The Birds. Throughout the '60s and '70s, she starred in romantic films such as Rome Adventure (to which she married her co-star Troy Donahue) to westerns such as Mister Buddwing and Support Your Local Gunfighter to Disney family films.
Pleshette later went to on to become a recurring guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which caught comedian Bob Newhart's attention. She quickly agreed to co-star with Newhart on his self-titled sitcom, and received two Emmy nominations for best actress for her work on The Bob Newhart Show, which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1978.
In 1998, she provided the voice of Zira in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride to which she was given an Annie nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting. She later worked alongside with her Lion King II co-star Jason Marsden in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award-winning film Spirited Away. Pleshette retired from her career in 2004.
Illness and death
In 2006, Pleshette was diagnosed with lung cancer, and was later hospitalized for pneumonia to which she recovered from. However, on January 19, 2008, she passed away from respiratory failure, just 12 days short of her 71st birthday.
- Bernstein, Adam (2008-01-21). Suzanne Pleshette, 70; Actress Played Bob Newhart's TV Wife. The Washington Post. Retrieved on June 15, 2011.