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Sada Thompson

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Subject: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Andre's Mother, 30th Primetime Emmy Awards, Gary Frank (actor), People from Fanwood, New Jersey
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Sada Thompson

Sada Thompson
James Broderick and Sada Thompson on Family (1976)
Born Sada Carolyn Thompson
(1927-09-27)September 27, 1927
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Died May 4, 2011(2011-05-04) (aged 83)
Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1955–2000
Spouse(s) Donald Stewart (1949–2011; her death); 1 child

Sada Carolyn Thompson (September 27, 1927 – May 4, 2011) was an American stage, film, and television actress.

Life and career

Born in Des Moines, Iowa[1] in 1927 to Hugh Woodruff Thompson and his wife Corlyss (née Gibson), and raised in New Jersey,[2] Thompson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre at the Carnegie Institute of Technology,[2] after which she worked steadily in regional theatre in such plays as The Seagull, Pygmalion, Our Town, Arms and the Man, and Blithe Spirit.[1] She received training at Pittsburgh Playhouse, where she appeared in numerous productions.[3]

She made her Off-Broadway debut in a 1955 production of Under Milkwood,[2] and the following year she appeared on television in a Goodyear Television Playhouse production. She made her Broadway debut in the 1959 musical Juno. Her additional New York City stage-credits include The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Tartuffe, and Twigs. Her stage performances won her an Obie Award, a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, three Drama Desk Awards and two Sarah Siddons Awards (the last presented for outstanding performances in Chicago theatre). She was elected to the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2005.[4]

On the strength of her success in Twigs, Thompson was signed to play neighbor Irene Lorenzo on All in the Family. After taping her first episode, however, she was replaced by Betty Garrett, when it became obvious that she and producer Norman Lear had different opinions about how the character should be played.[2] Her portrayal of matriarch Kate Lawrence on Family won her the 1978 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and garnered her three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama.

She was nominated for the Emmy Award nine times, winning once. Thompson's additional television credits included Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The Love Boat, Father Dowling Mysteries, Andre's Mother, Cheers, Indictment: The McMartin Trial, ER and Law & Order. Her feature films included The Pursuit of Happiness, Desperate Characters, and Pollock.

Personal life

Thompson was married to Donald E. Stewart from December 18, 1949,[1] until her death. She and her husband lived in Southbury, Connecticut. They had one daughter, costume designer Liza Stewart.[5]


Sada Thompson died on May 4, 2011, in Danbury, Connecticut, of lung disease, aged 83. In addition to her daughter, Liza, she is survived by her husband (a former executive for Pan American Airways) and a brother, David.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Camera Three Rosaleen 1 episode
1963 The Nurses Mrs. Mitchell 1 episode
1964 The DuPont Show of the Week Judy 1 episode
1971 The Pursuit of Happiness Ruth Lawrence
1971 Desperate Characters Claire
1973 Love Story Mamma Cassalini 1 episode
1974 Lincoln Mary Todd Lincoln TV miniseries
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976 The Entertainer Phoebe Rice Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1977 Our Town Mrs. Gibbs Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976-1980 Family Kate Lawrence 86 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1978)
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1977, 1979, 1980)
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (1977, 1979, 1980)
1982 Marco Polo Aunt Flora TV miniseries
1983 Princess Daisy Masha
1986 My Two Loves Dorothea
1986 The Love Boat Laura Jameson 2 episodes
1987 Father Dowling Mysteries Maria Pello 1 episode
1989 Home Fires Burning Pastine Tibbetts
1989 Fear Stalk Pearl
1991 Cheers Mama Lozupone 1 episode
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1995 Law & Order Elaine Nicodos 1 episode
1995 Indictment: The McMartin Trial Virginia McMartin Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1997 Any Mother's Son Gertie
1998 The Patron Saint of Liars Sister Evangeline
2000 Pollock Stella Pollock


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 152. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  4. ^ "Theater Hall of Fame inducts Thompson, Lithgow, others". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (May 5, 2011). "Sada Thompson, Actress Known for Maternal Roles, Dies at 83".  

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