Phyllis Somerville, Actor in 'The Big C' and 'Little Children,' Dies at 76

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Phyllis Somerville

She appeared in TV series including 'Law & Order,' 'NYPD Blue,' 'Sex and the City' and 'The Sopranos.'

Phyllis Somerville, an actor known for The Big C and Little Children, died of natural causes at her home in New York City on July 16, her manager Paul Hilepo told The Hollywood Reporter. She was 76.

"She was the consummate professional who lived her dream of being a working actress her entire life in NYC which spanned over 45 years," wrote Hilepo in a statement to THR. He was first her agent and then her manager, working with Somerville for over 28 years. "I will miss her greatly. Her friends and colleagues will miss her greatly as well."

Somerville was born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1943 and began her acting career as a saleslady in the 1981 film Arthur. Among her early TV appearances, she played Mrs. Beasley in Guiding Light and was featured in Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Sex and the City and The Sopranos. In 2010, she took on the character of Marlene in The Big C and later acted in an episode of House of Cards.

In 2016, Somerville took on the role of Lady Ray in the crime drama Outsiders, and then appeared as Meemaw in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt the following year.

The actor was also active on stage, appearing in Broadway stage productions including To Kill a Mockingbird as Mrs. Henry DuBose, and Once in a Lifetime as Mrs. Chasen. She also played the character of Wilma in the original Broadway production of Over Here! in 1974. Off Broadway, Somerville acted in Too Much, Too Much, Too Many.

Among her film work, Somerville had roles in thriller Swimfan, Chan-Wook Park's mystery drama Stoker and David Fincher's fantastical The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 

Somerville's last role was the detective series Mare of Easttown, in which she played Betty Carroll.