CDA: Phyllis Newman
Darling Phyllis Newman. She won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for *Subways Are For Sleeping.* She won that over a newcomer named Barbra Streisand, who was stopping the show in *I Can Get It For You Wholesale.* Newman was maybe (unfortunately) best known as the wife of Adolph Green, who worked with Betty Comden to write the lyrics and book for *On the Town,* *Wonderful Town,* *Bells Are Ringing,* many other Broadway shows, and the screenplay for *Singin' In the Rain.* Newman said this about auditioning for her husband for *Subways Are For Sleeping*: "My husband watched me audition five times. I was livid! Believe me, this was the first time an actress got the part by NOT sleeping with the author."
Newman came from show business - - her mother worked as a fortuneteller on the Atlantic City boardwalk and her father was a hypnotist. Newman's first job was doing a Carmen Miranda routine, at the age of four.
I saw Newman in performance just once. I moved to New York in August of 2002, and had read in the NY Times about a series of performances at The Town Hall commemorating the anniversary of 9/11. I looked at the line-up and bought tickets for three out of four of the performances. Thankfully Newman was on one of them. She sang "Some Other Time" from *On the Town* and I was a weepy mess, she sang it with such unbearable tenderness.
She was a cancer survivor and founded The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors Fund of America in 1995. The initiative has raised more than US $3.5 million and served more than 2,500 women in the entertainment industry.
Here she is on The Tonight Show. She comes on at 37:15 (you might also be interested to watch Diahann Carroll earlier in the show):