Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress, Dies at 105
Connie Sawyer was the oldest working member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy
Connie Sawyer, the oldest working member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy, has died. She was 105.
The actress died peacefully at her home at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s residential community for entertainment industry retirees in Woodland Hills, California.
“It was a hell of a run,” a rep for Sawyer told PEOPLE, adding, “In the old-fashioned sense of the phrase a ‘great broad.’ ”
The Pueblo, Colorado, native, who was born on November 27, 1912, made audiences laugh since before the television was even invented, first starring in vaudeville shows when she was just a child.
She later landed several cameos and roles on programs for nearly six decades amassing over 140 credits, including The Way West, Ada, The Man in the Glass Booth, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hawaii Five-O, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Archie Bunker’s Place, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, ER, The Office, How I Met Your Mother and Ray Donovan.
In 2014, Sawyer acted opposite Zooey Deschanel in New Girl and worked on NCIS: Los Angeles in 2013 and 2 Broke Girls in 2012.
Meanwhile, Sawyer got her first film role in the 1950s when Frank Sinatra’s manager spotted her in a Broadway play called A Hole in the Head. In recent decades, she is best known for movie roles in Dumb and Dumber, The Pineapple Express, and When Harry Met Sally.
In November, the screen star told PEOPLE about the secrets of her long life.
“There aren’t that many people around who are 105,” Sawyer said. “I always say you have to move, you have to get off the couch. I used to swim, play golf, tap dance, line dance — I was always moving and I was lucky.”
Adding, “My parents lived a long time. Papa died at 91 and my mama was 89, so I had good genes too. That’s the reason.”
And when she wasn’t working, Sawyer participated in all the activities at MPTF, where she had lived for 12 years.
“I go to exercise class, I go to all the parties that they throw, I go to all the dinners, I go to all the shows,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll see movies twice to make sure I want to vote for them, I’m very serious about it,” she added about voting for Oscar contenders.
Sawyer, who wrote the book, I Never Wanted to Be a Star — and I Wasn’t, about her experiences in Hollywood, is survived by her two daughters: Lisa Dudley and Julie Watkins as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.