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Nancy Marchand (June 19, 1928 – June 18, 2000) was an American actress, whose career encompassed both stage and screen. She appeared in various theatre productions throughout the early 1950s, before being offered roles on film and television.

She was perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Margaret Pynchon in Lou Grant and, in later life, Livia Soprano on The Sopranos.

Early life

Marchand was born in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, the daughter of Marjorie (née Freeman), a pianist, and Raymond L. Marchand, a physician.


She made her Broadwaymarker debut in The Taming of the Shrew in 1951. Additional theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice, Love's Labour's Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, Forty Carats, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, The Plough and the Stars, The Glass Menagerie, Morning's at Seven, Awake and Sing!, The Octette Bridge Club, Love Letters, Man and Superman, The Importance of Being Earnest, The School for Scandal, The Balcony, for which she won a Distinguished Performance Obie Award, and Black Comedy/White Lies, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. She was nominated four times for the Drama Desk Award, winning for Morning's at Seven.


On daytime television, Marchand created the roles of Vinnie Phillips on the CBS soap opera, Love of Life and Theresa Lamonte on the NBC soap, Another World. She also starred as matriarch, Edith Cushing, on the short-lived soap, Lovers and Friends.

On prime time television, Marchand was known for her roles of autocratic newspaper publisher Margaret Pynchon on Lou Grant - winning four Emmy Awards as Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series for her performance - and matriarch Livia Soprano, mother of Tony Soprano, on the HBO series The Sopranos, which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. She appeared in many anthology series in the early days of television, including The Philco Television Playhouse (on which she starred in Marty opposite Rod Steiger), Kraft Television Theatre, Studio One, and Playhouse 90. Additional television credits include The Law and Mr. Jones, Spenser: For Hire, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Coach, and Night Court. She also portrayed Hester Crane, mother of Frasier Crane, in an episode of Cheers. Despite rumors on the Internet, Nancy is not the person who starred in the Walgreens Diabetes commercial .


Marchand's feature film credits include Ladybug Ladybug, Me, Natalie, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, The Hospital, The Bostonians, Jefferson in Paris, Brain Donors, Reckless, The Naked Gun, Sabrina, and Dear God.


Marchand died of emphysema and lung cancer in 2000 in Stratford, Connecticutmarker, and as a result her character's death was written into the third season story line of The Sopranos. Her husband of 48 years, actor Paul Sparer(December 19, 1923 - November 19, 1999), also died of cancer.


  1. Nancy Marchand at
  2. Paul Sparer
  3. Social Security Death Index

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