Letter: Stritch magic

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his engrossing interview with the fabulous Elaine Stritch (22 November), David Benedict states that Noel Coward wrote Sail Away for her.

As his diary for March 1962 shows, Coward initially wanted Kay Thompson for the role, and only when she turned it down was Stritch auditioned and engaged. Which does nothing to detract from Miss Stritch's magic, and gives an excuse to repeat another Stritch/Coward story with which the eccentric actress once regaled the slightly shocked Saturday morning audience of Ned Sherrin's Loose Ends. When Stritch arrived at a cocktail party unexpectedly attired in formal wear, Coward took her to one side and delivered the reprimand: "I told you to behave yourself, but not to look like a fucking geography teacher".


London N3