Hollywood “Star” Linda Dano Opens at The Cape Playhouse

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Hollywood Launches A “Star”… Three Decades Later Linda Dano Headlines Sylvia at The Cape Playhouse

Television icon Linda Dano’s road to this summer’s production of A.R Gurney’s Sylvia reads like one of the Hollywood movie scripts that gave this Emmy Award winning actress her start.

It begins under the old Studio Star System when Twentieth Century-Fox’s studio chief, Darryl F. Zanuck, puts an unknown actress into his New Talent Department. The then Linda Peck (now known as Dano) is cast in Star, the studio’s 3-hour epic musical bio pic starring Julie Andrews as the legendary Gertrude Lawrence (known as the mistress of The Cape Playhouse) and Richard Crenna as her husband, Richard S. Aldrich, financier, trustee and Managing Director of The Cape Playhouse.

The film was shot in Hollywood and on location at The Cape Playhouse in 1967 with Dano cast as Crenna’s secretary. Movie buffs will recall that the scene with Crenna and Dano appears to be in Crenna’s office at The Playhouse. In reality, Dano recalls that it was actually shot on a sound stage in Hollywood where she shook like a leaf in the presence of both Andrews and Crenna. “Were it not for the kindness and patience of the wonderful Richard Crenna, my overwhelming fear would have made me leave the business that very day” says Dano. He gave me the confidence to complete the project and go on to succeed as an actor…I am forever grateful to him.”

Dano went on become on the busiest young actresses in Hollywood, working in film, primetime television and commercials. Eventually marriage to Advertising Executive, Frank Attardi brought her to New York where she made her mark as the flamboyant romance novelist, “Felicia Gallant” in NBC’s Another World, as host of Lifetime’s Television signature show, Attitudes, an accomplished designer with a multi million dollar fashion accessory business on QVC and eventually to be the only actress in history to play the same character, “Dr. Rae Cummings,” on all four ABC Network daytime shows at the same time.

In 2004, while preparing for long awaited trip overseas trip to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, Dano learned that her husband had Lung Cancer. She took a leave of absence from all professional obligations as they tried to find treatment for Frank, but it was too late. He died on September 15 followed 8 days later by her 93-year old mother, Evelyn.

In rebuilding her life Dano has returned to primetime television, starring as Roger Bart’s (George, the pharmacist) mother, “Francine” on the ABC mega hit, Desperate Housewives, as Dan Cortese’s mother, “Eileen” on The WB’s What I Like About You. Last season Dano set foot, for the first time, on a professional stage when she starred as “Mame Dennis” in the musical version of MAME at The Bucks County Playhouse.

As a mental health advocate, Dano has been touring the country on behalf of The Support Partners Program, an effective program to fight clinical depression sponsored by The National Women’s Health Resource Center and Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals. Dano has been seen recently on national media outlets including Larry King Live, Good Morning America and The View

For many years, the Playhouse’s current Artistic Director, Evans Haile, has looked for a way to bring Linda Dano to The Cape Playhouse, "Americas' Oldest Professional Summer Theatre". This summer, she accepted his invitation and will “return” to The Cape Playhouse starring with Sam Freed and Nancy Anderson in a clever canine fantasy about mid-life crisis by one of the Playhouse’s favorite playwrights, A. R. Gurney. Directed by Pam Hunt the shows run from August 28- September 9. Tickets are available by calling (508) 385-3911 or http://www.capeplayhouse.com

On Friday, September 1 Dano hosts a special thank-you fan luncheon at Café Spargo (6A across from The Cape Playhouse on Rte. 6A). Price fix luncheon tickets are available by calling (508) 385-8200.

Photo of Linda (Peck) Dano (Star 1968) on Linda Dano Website

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Vivien Stern
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