Claudette Nevins, Stage Actress in 'Plaza Suite' and 'The Great White Hope,' Dies at 82

Photofest
Claudette Nevins

She also worked often on television, with recurring roles on 'Melrose Place' and 'JAG.'

Claudette Nevins, who starred in the original production of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite on Broadway and in a national tour of The Great White Hope, has died. She was 82.

Nevins died Feb. 20 in hospice care at her home in Los Angeles, her family announced.

In recurring roles for television, Nevins portrayed Constance Fielding, the mother of Doug Savant's Matt, on Melrose Place and played Special Agent Clayton Webb's (Steven Culp) mom on JAG.

Years earlier, she portrayed Andy Griffith's wife in 1970-71 on the short-lived CBS show Headmaster, the actor's first series after he quit The Andy Griffith Show.

The daughter of a fur salesman, Claudette Weintraub was born on April 10, 1937, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised in Brooklyn. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York and graduated from NYU in 1957.

The red-haired Nevins made it to Broadway opposite George C. Scott and Marian Seldes in The Wall in 1960 and a year later starred in the 3D horror feature The Mask.

In 1966, she served as Lee Remick's standby/replacement in the original production of Wait Until Dark, then played several characters alongside Scott, Maureen Stapleton and Bob Balaban in Plaza Suite, directed by Mike Nichols.

Soon after, Nevins starred as Ellie (Jane Alexander's role on Broadway and the 1970 movie) alongside Brock Peters in the national Broadway tour of The Great White Hope. That gig brought her to Los Angeles, where she would become a member of the Matrix Theatre Company.

Nevins also worked on the daytime soap opera Love of Life and the animated Return to the Planet of the Apes, had regular roles on Police Story and Husbands, Wives & Lovers and showed up on other series like The Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H, One Day at a Time, Barnaby Jones, Police Squad!, L.A. Law, Picket Fences and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Her film résumé also included Sleeping With the Enemy (1991), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Something's Gotta Give (2003).