Wednesday, May 29, 2024

RIP Elegant, Soulful Actress Lisa Banes, With Broadway, Movies, TV Resume, Killed by Hit and Run Driver in Manhattan


Kids, life is fragile. We don’t know what’s going to happen.

I was at a dinner party with Lisa Banes on May 29th up in Westchester. She was a guest, as always, at Clive Davis’s annual Memorial Day gathering. I remember thinking how swell she looked, so elegant and regal, as always. The first time I’d seen her was way back in 1984 when she starred on Broadway in Wendy Wasserstein’s hilarious comedy, “Isn’t it Romantic.” At the dinner party I thought, wow, she doesn’t age.

A few days later, crossing Amsterdam Avenue at 64th St., a broad stretch of road that runs behind Lincoln Center, she was hit by a scooter driver. It was a hit and run, as the drive didn’t stop. Now he or she on that scooter has caused a death. Lisa Banes is gone a couple of weeks before her 66th birthday.

After “Isn’t it Romantic,” for which she received a Drama Desk nomination, Lisa never stopped working. More recently she appeared in the hit film “Gone Girl” as Rosamund Pike’s mother. She was a constant presence on TV, from “Madame Secretary” to “One Life to Live.” She was a recurring player on shows like “Royal Pains” and “Nashville.” She had a great career doing the thing she loved: acting. If you needed someone regal, classy, sophisticated, you called Lisa Banes. And she was needed all the time.

Condolences to her family and friends. Lisa will be much missed. This is a terrible loss. Let’s hope all those cameras on Amsterdam Avenue that spew out annoying tickets can do some good and bring her killer to justice.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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