Actress and Broadway star Nanette Fabray, who is remembered for her thrice Emmy Award winning performance on classic 1950s variety series “Caesar’s Hour” and as the mother on CBS comedies “One Day at a Time” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Thursday at her home in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She was 97.
Born Oct. 27, 1920 as Ruby Nanette Bernadette Theresa Fabares in San Diego, Fabray began her career performing in vaudeville as a child and became a musical theatre actress during the 1940s and 1950s, winning a Tony Award in 1949 for her performance in “Love Life.”
Fabray returned to the stage throughout her life, also appearing in Broadway hit “High Button Shoes” in 1947 and earning another Tony nomination playing a fictional first lady in “Mr. President.” She also toured in several musicals, including “Wonderful Town” and “No, No Nanette.”
Fabray continued her success in musicals on the big screen, appearing alongside Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan in 1953 classic “The Band Wagon,” and she made a known presence on the small screen opposite Sid Caesar on aforementioned “Caesar’s Hour..
She later became a popular guest on shows like “The Love Boat,” “Maude” and “Murder, She Wrote,” but her character niche seemed to be as the mom of a series star, which also included ABC comedy “Coach” of the character played by Shelley Fabares, her real-life niece.
Fabray was married twice: to Broadway publicist David Tebet for four years and to screenwriter Ranald MacDougall from 1958 till his death in 1973. She had one son, Dr. Jamie MacDougall.