'The Inheritance' Star Lois Smith Becomes Oldest Person to Win Tony Award for Acting at 90

Lois Smith won best actress in a featured role in a play for her work in The Inheritance

Lois Smith
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Lois Smith just set a record.

At the 74th annual Tony Awards Sunday night in New York City, the longtime actress won her first trophy, becoming the oldest person to win an acting accolade at the award show, according to The New York Times. Smith, 90, won best actress in a featured role in a play for her work as Margaret in The Inheritance.

Smith said in her speech, "I love the processes of the live theater," then adding, "I first worked on The Inheritance in a workshop where Matthew López was finishing a play about the AIDS plague, and it was partly based on E.M. Forster's book Howards End, which had been my favorite novel for as long as I can remember."

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"E.M. Forster gave us, there's a famous two-word message from Howards End, which is so apt, I think, tonight for all of us who are here celebrating the importance, the functions, of live theater: 'Only connect,' " she added.

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Previously, Smith was nominated at the Tonys for Buried Child in 1996 and The Grapes of Wrath in 1990. She is also known for her big-screen performances in movies like Twister, Lady Bird and Minority Report, as well as memorable TV roles in shows like True Blood, The Americans and Ray Donovan.

Smith is the only female actor in The Inheritance, which is a two-part play. She told Variety back in March 2020, "I think to myself, 'Now what's going to happen to me?' This may be the end of me. Suppose somebody asks me to do eight shows a week, what am I going to say? It's hard to imagine at this point!"

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