Irene Dailey (September 12, 1920 – September 24, 2008)[1][2] was an American stage, film, and television actress.

Irene Dailey
Born(1920-09-12)September 12, 1920
DiedSeptember 24, 2008(2008-09-24) (aged 88)

1966 Rooms


Dailey was born in New York City, the daughter of Helen Theresa (née Ryan) and Daniel James Dailey.[1][3] Her brother was the late actor Dan Dailey.[1]

Dailey received the 1966 Drama Desk Award for her work in Rooms,[4] and played Nettie Cleary in the original Broadway production of the Tony Award-winning drama, The Subject Was Roses (1964).[1] Other Broadway credits included Idiot's Delight, The Good Woman of Szechwan, and You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.

In 1969, Dailey joined the cast of the long-running CBS serial The Edge of Night as Pamela Stewart,[1] the vindictive wife of Nicole Drake's ex-husband Duane who stabbed Stephanie Martin to death. In 1971 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre. Dailey later joined the cast of Another World in 1974 as the fourth actress to play the role of family matriarch Liz Matthews. While other members of the Matthews family were written out in the early 1980s, she remained a major character on the show until the summer of 1986, returning in November 1987 on a non-contract basis, being prominently featured in the show's 25th and 30th anniversary shows, and making her last appearance in May 1994.[1]

Her work on Another World was recognized with a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in 1979;[1] two of her fellow nominees were her AW costars Victoria Wyndham and Beverlee McKinsey.[2] The meddling "Aunt Liz" was first a rival with Rachel for the love of Mac Cory, and later became his secretary. As Liz mellowed, Dailey was allowed to show her flair for comedy, but as the Matthews family dwindled onscreen, she became a sounding board for various friends and family and a well-meaning busy-body. After the death of Liz's great niece Sally, Dailey was written out, but the following year was brought back due to popular demand. The Matthews family had a brief resurgence, and Liz became a confidante for her great niece Olivia. After that storyline ended, Liz continued to appear at special events, most notably at Ada Hobson's memorial and at a Cory Publishing gathering which coincided with the show's 30th anniversary. After her final appearance in 1994, she appeared on Broadway in a revival of the Strindberg play The Father, receiving excellent notices for her performance as Frank Langella's nurse who must manipulate him into a straitjacket after he goes insane. Her film credits include No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and The Amityville Horror (1979).[1]

Dailey died Sept. 24, 2008 of colon cancer at a healthcare facility in Santa Rosa, Calif., according to Arleen Lorrance, a longtime friend. She had been a resident of the Sonoma County town of Guerneville.



Year Title Role Notes
1968 Daring Game Mrs. Carlyle
1968 No Way to Treat a Lady Mrs. Fitts
1970 Five Easy Pieces Samia Glavia
1971 The Grissom Gang Gladys 'Ma' Grissom
1979 The Amityville Horror Aunt Helena


Year Title Role Notes
1958 Decoy Millie Baker "Blind Date"
1959 Naked City Amy Gary "Four Sweet Corners"
1962 Naked City Auntie Maud "Goodbye Mama, Hello Auntie Maud"
1962 The Defenders Mrs. Prinzler "The Avenger"
1962 Sam Benedict Amelia Carter "Everybody's Playing Polo"
1963 The Twilight Zone Miss Frank "Mute"
1963 Dr. Kildare Sara Anderson "A Trip to Niagara"
1963 The Eleventh Hour Agatha Miller "The Bride Wore Pink"
1964 Ben Casey Caroline Bullard "Heap Logs and Let the Blaze Laugh Out"
1964 Brenner Mrs. Friedman "The Vigilantes"
1965 The Nurses Annie Cloyne "Threshold"
1966 Hawk Hallie Simmons "How Close Can You Get?"
1968 NET Playhouse Ruth "Home"
1969–1979 The Edge of Night Pamela Stewart TV series
1972 Jigsaw Mrs. Cummings TV film
1974–1986 Another World Liz Matthews Contract role
1987 American Playhouse Mrs. McGuire "Stacking"
1987–1994 Another World Liz Matthews Recurring role
(final appearance)

Selected discographyEdit

  • 1965: Of Poetry and Power: Poems Occasioned by the Presidency and by the Death of John F. Kennedy (Folkways Records)
  • 1967: The Wick and the Tallow By Henry Gilfond (Folkways Records)


Preceded by
Barbara Rush
Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago
Succeeded by
Lauren Bacall

Further readingEdit

  • Seed, Suzanne (March 1974). Saturday's Child : 36 women talk about their jobs. Bantam Books. pp. 44–47. OCLC 5462796.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hevesi, Dennis (October 6, 2008). "Irene Dailey, Actress of Stage and TV, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  2. ^ a b "Tribute: Irene Dailey". TV Guide. 56 (42): pg. 64. October 20, 2008.
  3. ^ "Irene Dailey profile". Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  4. ^ "Drama Desk Awards (1965–1966)". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-10-19.

External linksEdit