Carole Shelley, a Tony-winning actress best known as one of the Pigeon Sisters in the stage, film and TV versions of The Odd Couple, has died at age 79. THR reports Shelley died in NYC on August 31.
Born August 16, 1939, Shelley was first an aspiring dancer, but an injury led her to acting. She made her silver-screen debut in Give Us This Day (1949) and would go on to appear in noted works like The Boston Strangler (1968), Quiz Show (1994), and The Road to Wellville (1994).
She did voice work in The Aristocats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973).
Her Broadway debut was most auspicious, portraying one of the Pigeon Sisters in The Odd Couple in 1965, a role she recreated in the 1968 film and on Season 1 of the TV series (1970). Other stage work included Absurd Person Singular (1975); playing Mrs. Kendal in the 1979 Broadway production of The Elephant Man, which won her the Tony; Stepping Out (1987), Show Boat (1994), Cabaret (2002), Wicked (2003), Billy Elliot (2009), and her swan song, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (2013).
She is survived by a godson and cousins.
Writer Michael Musto recalled Shelley as his first-ever — and one of his toughest — interview subjects in a sweet Facebook post:
RIP, Carole Shelley. On a high school field trip, we had gone to Radio City Music Hall to see The Odd Couple, which I...
Monica Evans, the other Pigeon Sister, now 78, is alive and well. Earlier this year, she and Shelley reflected on their most famous roles.