It was a beautiful remembrance Tuesday in New York for the memorial for actress Julie Harris who died Aug. 24 at the age of 87 with touching recollections from Christopher Plummer, HalHolbrook, Zoe Caldwell, Cherry Jones, Rosemary Harris, Joan Van Ark and others.
The ceremony held at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre was capped by the singing of the hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (sung by Ethel Waters to Harris in “The Member of the Wedding” that Harris starred on stage and in the 1952 film) by former students from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Soloist James Scheider and Holly Holcomb, Kyle Brand, Sarah KilloughandSteve Frenchwere the singers.
Hartt had a special relationship with the five-time Tony Award winner (six if you count the one for Lifetime Achievement). Harris was a big supporter of the Monomy Theater in Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod where Harris lived. The summer theater is run by Alan Rust, director of the theater division at Hartt and students from the school, along with those from the University of Ohio, perform eight plays over 10 weeks.
Harris would be in the front row for every production — sometimes more than once — and then go backstage to talk with the students. The last stage appearance by Harris, who had a stroke in 2001, was in a small role in “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” directed by Rust in 2008.
A scholarship in Harris’s name is now established at the Yale School of Drama, where Harris attended.