Fast Facts

  • Her mother was a dancer who performed under the stage name Geraldine Rivers; her father once served as vice president of ABC TV.
  • Made her film debut in the 1958 Jerry Lewis comedy The Geisha Boy.
  • Third husband Tom Poston first romanced her when they appeared together in the 1959 Broadway production of The Golden Fleecing. In the 1970s, they crossed paths when he made guest appearances on her CBS sitcom The Bob Newhart Show. Both widowed, they reunited in 2000.
  • In 1961, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway production of The Miracle Worker.
  • Breakout film role came as the ill-fated schoolteacher in Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Birds (1963).
  • In 2002, the producers of NBC's Will & Grace recruited her for a recurring role as Karen Walker's estranged mother on the hit series; they later cast her as a grandmother in their short-lived NBC sitcom Good Morning, Miami.
  • At her funeral, her pallbearers were six of her closest female friends, including Tina Sinatra.


  • 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1977, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1991, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 1962, Emmy — Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
  • 1963, Golden Globe — New Star of the Year - Actress: Nominee


  • Hudson Poston — Stepdaughter
  • Troy Donahue — Ex-husband
  • Thomas Joseph Gallagher III — Husband (deceased)
  • Tom Poston — Husband (deceased)
  • Geraldine Pleshette — Mother
  • Jason Poston — Stepson
  • Eugene Pleshette — Father
  • Francesca Poston — Stepdaughter


  • Attended Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; Attended Finch College, New York, NY; Attended The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, New York, NY

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  • Birth Place: Brooklyn, NY
  • Died: January 19, 2008
  • Profession: Actor

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