Legendary actress and singer Elaine Stritch certainly knows how to make an entrance. Ever since she arrived on Broadway nearly seventy years ago, Stritch has been entertaining audiences with her unabashed wit and sass. Her illustrious career has included taking on many roles on both stage and screen, becoming a fixture on the New York cabaret scene, and winning a Tony Award®1 and three Emmy®2 Awards. But perhaps her most important role has been living with type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with in her forties. Her new documentary, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me – recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival – offers an intimate look inside Stritch’s life and her life with diabetes. Stritch, now 88, retired last spring and moved home to Michigan, but she continues to enjoy a full life and took time to dish with The DX.
What is your state of mind today?
That if I hang in, I’ll win.
What three words would you use to describe who you are?
“What a question” is my answer.
How does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?
I can’t remember what it was like without diabetes. It’s going to take more than diabetes to make my life not worth living. I will fight my backside off and win, and win standing with hopefully an award in my hand talking about diabetes, saying to everyone, “Lick it; don’t let it lick you!”
What inspires you to do what you do?
The fact that I have a terrace to sit on at 88, and talking to you.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
When I call someone and they say, “yay, let’s go.”
What would you pack for your favorite vacation?
I’ve never had [a vacation] so I don’t know.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Orange juice and Coca-Cola®3 for when I have a low.
What is your favorite song to sing?
Stephen Sondheim’s favorite song, which is Rodgers and Hart’s “He Was Too Good to Me.” It’s the best love song in the whole world.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
A cosmopolitan. If they invent anything better, please call me!
What is your idea of happiness?
Peace of mind, of course. What else is there?
What do you most dislike?
What do you buy yourself to indulge?
Peace of mind and unfortunately you can’t [buy it].
On what occasion do you lie?
If the truth would hurt another human being.
Do you have a secret to aging gracefully?
Listen to what makes you feel good, and swing with it. Give in to yourself once in a while, and don’t do too much of anything.
Any last words of wisdom?
Be good to yourself. Have respect for yourself. This is Elaine Stritch signing off.
All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
1Tony Award® is a trademark of the American Theatre Wing, Inc.
2Emmy® is the trademark property of ATAS/NATAS.
3Coca-Cola is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience