Actress Nanette Fabray, who was famous for her 1950s and 1960s hits like “The Band Wagon” and the original “One Day at a Time,” died Thursday in her Palos Verdes, Calif. home. She was 97.
Fabray died of old age, her son Dr. Jamie MacDougall said.
“She just exuded warmth, wit, charm, love, and she touched so many people in so many ways,” MacDougall told the Associated Press. “I hope all of us can look back on our lives and be able to say that at the end of our lives.”
Fabray launched her career as a Vaudeville singer and dancer when she was just 3 years old, and went onto star in hit Broadway musicals like “Love Life,” for which she won a Tony Award.
Her stardom in Hollywood came in 1953 when she co-starred in the Academy Award-nominated movie “The Band Wagon” with Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Jack Buchanan.
The actress also found stardom as a regular on Sid Caesar’s game show “Caesar’s Hour,” and won three Emmy Awards for her comedic work.
In addition to her fame on screen, Fabray was known for her advocacy for the deaf and hearing impaired, and received the President’s Distinguished Service Award and Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for her work.
Despite her singing and dancing roles, Fabray battled a hearing impairment ever since she was a child. She said in a 1967 interview that she originally believed she wasn’t very bright, but later realized she just couldn’t hear and overcame the disability by asking those around her to speak loudly.
She underwent multiple hearing-related surgeries in her lifetime, and was finally able to hear after a successful operation in here late 40s.
“She had such an amazing life professionally, but I think if she could say what she wanted to be remembered for it would be more for her humanitarian work,” her son said. “She was an extraordinary woman.”