Jo Sullivan Loesser

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Jo Sullivan
Elizabeth Josephine Sullivan

(1927-08-28)August 28, 1927
DiedApril 28, 2019(2019-04-28) (aged 91)
Other namesJo Sullivan Loesser
OccupationActress, singer
Frank Loesser
(m. 1959; his death 1969)

Elizabeth Josephine Sullivan Loesser (née Sullivan; August 28, 1927 – April 28, 2019) was an American actress and singer.[1] She became a musical theatre star with her performance in the original production of The Most Happy Fella, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award in 1957.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Mounds, Illinois, Sullivan played Polly Peachum in Marc Blitzstein's legendary English-language adaptation of The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht off-Broadway in 1954.

She married Frank Loesser on April 29, 1959, they had two children, Hannah (1962–2007) and Emily (born 1965), who is also a singer-actress.[2] She also appeared as herself in an "original special" on Broadway, called Let's Make An Opera (1950), which boasted music by Benjamin Britten, a libretto by Eric Crozier, musical direction by Norman Del Mar, and was directed by Marc Blitzstein.

In the summer of 1951 she played Dorothy Gale in The Muny's production of The Wizard of Oz, opposite Margaret Hamilton, who reprised her film role of the Wicked Witch of the West. In 1992, Loesser's daughter, Emily, played the same role at The Muny, marking the first time in The Muny's history that a role has been played by both mother and daughter. Loesser later reprised her role in the 1953 production at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre.

She also appeared on numerous recordings, such as Loesser by Loesser (alongside her daughter, Emily) as well as several albums for Ben Bagley's celebrated "Revisited" series on Painted Smiles Records (most notably Kurt Weill Revisited, Leonard Bernstein Revisited, and Frank Loesser Revisited.)

From the time of her husband's death in 1969 until her own death in 2019, she managed his estate, which included guiding production of all of his musicals, including Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and The Most Happy Fella.

Loesser died on April 28, 2019 at her home in New York City,[3] she was 91.

Theatre credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Jo Sullivan Loesser". Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ Thomas L. Riis, Frank Loesser (Yale University Press, 2008: ISBN 0300110510), p. 12.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Jo Sullivan Loesser, Tony-Nominated The Most Happy Fella Star, Dies at 91" Playbill, April 29, 2019

External links[edit]