Eileen Heckart

1919 - 2001

Versatile, award-winning character actress Eileen Heckart, with the lean, horsey face and assured, fervent gait, was born Anna Eileen Stark on March 29, 1919, in Columbus, Ohio. An only child, she lived with her mother after her parents separated at age 2. Her childhood was an acutely unhappy one. Her mother, an alcoholic, was married five times, and her stern grandmother, whom Eileen was often shuttled off to stay with, was physically abusive. To survive, Eileen escaped into the joy and imaginary world of movies as an adolescent.Somehow she managed to survive it all and attend (and graduate from) Ohio State University in 1942 with a degree in English. That same year she married John Harrison Yankee Jr., an insurance broker. They had three sons in a union that lasted 53 years, unusual for a feisty, independent lady of show business. While her husband was off to the war (he joined the Navy), Eileen moved to New York and toiled in a number of day jobs while trying to jumpstart a career i

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