I still remember the first time I watched The Haunting for the very first time. I was captivated by what I still think is one of the best ghost stories to ever be filmed on screen and the star of that movie was the fabulous Julie Harris. Her portrayal of Eleanor Lance stills sens shivers down my spine. Her ability to portray even the slightest nuance in that movie is remarkable to me, and I think a lesser actress would have destroyed the movie.
I don't want anyone to think she was a one note actress, because she was anything but. Her gift of truly inhabiting a role and bringing that character to life is almost second to none. She was nominated for ten Tonys, which is more than any other actor in history; she won five of them. She was nominated for eleven Prime Time Emmy Awards, and won three of them. She won a Grammy for best spoken word album for her recording of The Belle of Amherst, a play she also won the Tony for playing Emily Dickinson. She was an Academy Award nominee and a BAFTA nominee.
A lot of you will recognize her from her role in East of Eden with James Dean, or with Paul Newman in Harper. Television viewers will remember her as Lilimae Clements on Knots Landing. For me though, whenever I'm thinking of this powerhouse of an actor, I will put my DVD of The Haunting in, and get lost in her performance.
Julie Harris passed away on 08/24/13 from congestive heart failure.