Carrie Nye: A Sort of Heaven

Carrie Nye and Daniel Davis

Tenn, talking
New Orleans

Carrie Nye and I share a Mississippi heritage--and so much else. Carrie Nye is the woman my mother would have liked to have been: elegant, intelligent, desired, surrounded by affection and admiration and envy. A well-raised woman who never met anyone to whom she could not connect and whom she could not charm or coerce into rising to her own standards of civility and frivolity and investigation.

Nothing escapes Carrie Nye.

I am entirely comfortable in her presence, and she knows that what I most desire when I first enter that wonderful circle that surrounds her  (one really walks into intelligence when you get within a certain radius of her) is her laugh and a drink in a glass that's pretty. She provides all of this without query.

Carrie Nye is far too intelligent for the theatre, I'm afraid: She wants good parts and she wants intelligent directors. I hate to burst your youthful bubble of happy hope, but these are both very hard to find. Carrie Nye would prefer to be at home, with friends or good books.

 Carrie Nye and Blythe Danner 

When Carrie Nye does work, she is remarkable. Her Blanche was so beautiful, even if my only knowledge of it is a monologue she performed on Dick's program [Dick Cavett, the husband of Carrie Nye]. There was a powerful and sweet tribute done for me at Williamstown, directed by that fervent and gentle Greek, Nikos Psacharopoulos. It was devised as a cacophony of sounds and memories, with voices from various of my plays emanating from all corners of the theatre. I was very moved, and at the center of it, for me, was Carrie Nye, regal as Ina Claire, penetrating as Zoe Caldwell, flamboyant as Tallulah [Bankhead] and available to me every night, as she ate her sandwich and had her chocolate milk and told me of all that she learned that day. She is a formidable woman.

I think that Nikos lived up to her standards, and, of course, she lived up to his, so her best work, I believe, was done in Williamstown. Carrie Nye shared with me a devotion to Chekhov, and Nikos had an understanding and a sensitivity for this playwright that was extraordinary. I learned so much from both of them about this man who was my inspiration in so many ways.

Heaven--or a sort of heaven--exists around Carrie Nye. I trust her and I love her, and I so often need her merciless eye for detail and her abundant kindness in sharing what it has seen.

Authors Note: Carrie Nye was extraordinarily kind and supportive to me, and she helped greatly in helping me to reach many of the people to whom I needed to speak  for Follies of God. I miss her terribly.


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