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Who is Suzanne Pleshette?

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  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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Suzanne Pleshette was an American actress. She was best known for playing Emily Hartley on the television sit-com The Bob Newhart Show. The dark-haired, husky-voiced and very attractive Suzanne began her show business career at a fairly young age. Her parents were also involved in the industry.

Suzanne was born on 31 January, 1937 in New York, New York. Her father, Eugene Pleshette, ran Paramount Theaters in New York and was also a television executive. Suzanne's mother, Geraldine Kaplan, was a dancer with the stage name of Geraldine Rivers. Suzanne attended New York City High School of the Performing Arts and then spent just a semester at Syracuse University before switching to the elite Finch College in New York. She stayed only a semester at Finch as well.

Instead of continuing to pursue a formal education, Suzanne Pleshette took acting lessons from the renowned acting coach, Sanford Meisner, at the Neighborhood Playhouse. At age 20, Pleshette performed on Broadway in a play called Compulsion. Following that, she appeared in the television show Harbormaster. By age 21, Suzanne Pleshette was landing plum roles in films such as Jerry Lewis' leading lady in 1958's The Geisha Boy.

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In 1962, Suzanne Pleshette starred on Broadway in Anne Bancroft's part in The Miracle Worker. In 1963, she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's hit film, The Birds. In 1972, Suzanne Pleshette was cast as the wife, Emily Hartley, in The Bob Newhart Show. It was for playing Emily that Suzanne is known best. She endeared television audiences with her earthy and direct, yet sophisticated portrayal of Emily that was the perfect contrast to Bob's more low-key appeal.

The Bob Newhart Show ran until 1978 and Suzanne Pleshette received two Emmy nominations for her work as Emily Hartley. She was also nominated for the leading role of Leona Helmsley in the 1991 television movie Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean. Suzanne guest starred on many television shows and had a recurring role on Will and Grace.

Suzanne Pleshette was married three times. Her last marriage was to Tom Poston, who played George the handyman opposite Bob Newhart's innkeeper character on television's 1982-1990 situation comedy, Newhart. Suzanne underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006. She died 19 January 2008 from respiratory failure.

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