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Nanette Fabray, star of stage and TV, dead at 97

Jack Zwillinger/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(PALOS VERDES, CA) -- Tony and Emmy-winning actress Nanette Fabray has died, her son has confirmed.  She was 97.

Fabray, who was the aunt of actress Shelley Fabares, died in her home in Palos Verdes, California on Thursday from natural causes. Her family was with her when she died.

Born Ruby Nanette Bernadette Theresa Fabares, her career began at age three in vaudeville.  She became a Broadway star in the '40s, winning a Tony for her role in Love Life. 

She appeared in several movies, most notably in the classic 1953 musical The Band Wagon, opposite Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, but she was best known for her TV work.

Fabray won three Emmys for her regular appearances on Sid Caesar's Caesar's House in the fifties, and appeared on variety shows, talk shows and game shows from the fifties through the late seventies, including Your Show of Shows, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Carol Burnett  Show,  Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Hollywood Squares, What's My Line and Match Game.

Fabray also had a recurring role as Grandma Katherine Romano, mother of Bonnie Franklin's character Ann Romano, in One Day at a Time.  In addition, she guest-starred on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Murder, She Wrote, Coach and Love, American Style.

Having overcome hearing loss herself, Fabray became an advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing, for which she received the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.  She also won the SAG Life Achievement Award in 1987.

Fabray is survived by her son Jamie MacDougall, his wife, and two grandchildren, as well as Shelley Fabares.

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