Beloved ‘Cheers’ Actress Frances Sternhagen Passes Away at 93
Frances Sternhagen, the Tony-winning actress renowned for her role as Esther Clavin on the iconic sitcom Cheers, has died at the age of 93.
The sad news was confirmed by her son, actor John Carlin, through an Instagram post. Sternhagen passed away peacefully at her home on Monday night, November 27, just a month and a half before her 94th birthday. Carlin shared the news of her death, attributing it to natural causes and expressing gratitude for the remarkable legacy left by his mother.
In his Instagram statement, Carlin wrote, “Frannie. Mom. Frances Sternhagen. On Monday night, Nov 27, she died peacefully at her home, a month and a half shy of her 94th birthday. I will post more soon, but for now, I just want to give thanks for the remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen.”
Describing the bond he shared with his mother, Carlin continued, “She was beloved by many. I’m very lucky I was able to call her my mom, my friend, my song and dance partner. We were together last week, and we spoke Monday afternoon, said how much we loved and missed one another.”
Revealing the unexpected news, Carlin added, “I was about to board a plane for London when I got the news, and am there now. Set to perform some new songs (one of which was inspired by her) this weekend. She always encouraged my writing, and enjoyed my singing. I’ll fly back very early the next day. Fly on, Frannie. The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly and generously lived.”
Sternhagen gained widespread recognition for her role as Esther Clavin on Cheers, where she portrayed the mother of John Ratzenberger’s character, postman Cliff Clavin. Beyond her television success, Sternhagen made a significant impact on Broadway, winning Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1974 for Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor and in 1995 for Augustus Goetz’s The Heiress.
Her extensive television career included roles in ER as Millicent Carter, Sex and the City as Bunny MacDougal, and The Closer as the mother of Kyra Sedgwick’s character. Sternhagen also made notable appearances in various films such as Up the Down Staircase, The Hospital, Fedora, and Bright Lights, Big City, alongside Michael J. Fox. Her contributions to both stage and screen leave behind a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry.
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