ELAINE STRITCH Now bossing God around Heaven.
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  • ELAINE STRITCH Now bossing God around Heaven.

Elaine Stritch, the legendary star of Broadway and popular presence on television, died today at age 89.

For New York City and fans of Broadway, Stritch was a monolithic presence, and for an overview of her life and artistic achievements, I'll quote from the nation's leading paper of Stritch record, the New York Times:

Ms. Stritch’s career began in the 1940s and included her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen’s “September” (1987) and “Small Time Crooks” (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she played a recurring role on the NBC comedy “30 Rock” as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin. But the stage was her true professional home, where, whether in musicals, nonmusical dramas or solo cabaret shows, she drew audiences to her with her whiskey voice, her seen-it-all manner and the blunt charisma of a star.

Last year brought the release of the documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, which is now available for rent at Scarecrow Video and other brick-and-mortar video stores while simultaneously being available for streaming on Netflix. The key sentiment expressed by one person after another: Elaine Stritch is a total pain in the ass to work with, and it's worth it.

This fact is put on amazing display in Company, D.A. Pennebaker's 1970 documentary about the making of the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's Company, a key scene of which captures Stritch trying to record her show-stopping number "Ladies Who Lunch." Thanks to YouTube, here's the scene itself, overlaid with what seems like Stritch's commentary (maybe from a DVD's special features?) Who knows, it's YouTube, but you should watch it.