Phyllis Newman (born 1933)



Phyllis Newman’s biography is built and maintained by people like you. Create an online profile of Phyllis so that her life is remembered forever. If any factual information is incorrect, please edit Phyllis’s biography.

Phyllis Newman
Born March 19, 1933
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Died September 15, 2019 (aged 86)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1952–2019
Spouse(s) Adolph Green
(m. 1960; died 2002)
Children Adam Green Amanda Green
Phyllis Newman (March 19, 1933 – September 15, 2019) was an American actress and singer. She won the 1962 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as Martha Vail in the Broadway-theatre production of Subways Are for Sleeping and was nominated twice for the Drama Desk Award.
Early life and education
Newman was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of Rachael, a fortune teller, and Sigmund Newman, a handwriting analyst, both boardwalk workers. Her parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants. She attended Lincoln High School where she was voted "Future Hollywood Star."
Newman made her Broadway debut in Wish You Were Here in 1952. Additional theater credits include Bells Are Ringing, Pleasures and Palaces, The Apple Tree, On the Town, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Awake and Sing!, Broadway Bound, and Subways Are for Sleeping, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, beating out Barbra Streisand in I Can Get It for You Wholesale. She was nominated twice for the Drama Desk Award and received a second Tony Award nomination, for Broadway Bound.
In June 1979 Newman and Arthur Laurents collaborated on the one-woman show The Madwoman of Central Park West. Produced by Fritz Holt, it featured songs by Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Bock, John Kander, Martin Charnin, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Edward Kleban, Fred Ebb, Sheldon Harnick, Peter Allen, Barry Manilow, Carole Bayer Sager, and Stephen Sondheim, among others. The show ran for 86 performances at the 22 Steps Theatre in New York City.[4]
An early television role for Newman was in a 1959 episode of Beverly Garland's crime drama Decoy.
In 1960 she was cast as Doris Hudson on the CBS summer replacement series Diagnosis: Unknown, with Patrick O'Neal as the pathologist Dr. Daniel Coffee and Martin Huston as the handyman named Link.
Newman became a major television celebrity of the 1960s and 1970s, a frequent panelist on the top-rated network game shows What's My Line?, Match Game and To Tell the Truth and a perennial guest of Johnny Carson's on NBC's The Tonight Show. She portrayed Melissa's mother Elaine on the television series Thirtysomething.
She created the role of Renée Buchanan on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live and was a regular on the prime time series 100 Centre Street and the NBC satirical series That Was The Week That Was. Other television credits include The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Burke's Law, ABC Stage 67, Murder, She Wrote, The Wild Wild West. Newman starred in the short-lived comedy about a couple living in an Arizona retirement community, Coming of Age, opposite veteran actors Paul Dooley, Glynis Johns and Alan Young.
On screen, Newman appeared in Picnic (1955), Let's Rock (1958), Bye Bye Braverman (1968), To Find a Man (1972), Mannequin (1987), Only You (1994), The Beautician and the Beast (1997), A Price Above Rubies (1998) and The Human Stain (2003).
In addition to her appearances on original cast recordings, Newman recorded an album of contemporary songs, Those Were the Days, for Sire Records in 1968. In England, the album was released as Phyllis Newman's World of Music on London Records.
The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative
In 1995 Newman founded The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors Fund of America. Since then she hosted the annual Nothing Like a Dame galas, which have raised more than US $3.5 million and served 2,500 women in the entertainment industry.
In 2009 Newman received the first Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony Award, for her work with the Health Initiative. This award recognizes "an individual from the theatre community for [his or her] humanitarian work."
Her memoir Just in Time – Notes from My Life (1988; Simon & Schuster; ISBN 978-0-671-61880-3), relates her career, life with her husband, lyricist and playwright Adolph Green, and her bout with cancer.
Personal life and death
Newman was married to lyricist and playwright Adolph Green from 1960 until his death in 2002. She was the mother of journalist Adam Green and singer-songwriter Amanda Green. Newman died on September 15, 2019 at the age of 86 from complications of a lung disorder.

Phyllis Newman Biography & Family History

This genealogy profile is dedicated to the life and ancestry of Phyllis Newman and her immediate Newman family. Add to Phyllis Newman's genealogy page to share your memories & historical research with her family and other genealogy hobbyists.


at New Jersey,


We don't have a death date or location. Is Phyllis still alive? Add death date or mark Phyllis as alive.

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Phyllis.

Burial / Funeral

Do you know the final resting place - gravesite in a cemetery or location of cremation - of Phyllis Newman? Add burial and funeral information.


Last Known Residence

Did Phyllis move a lot? Did she emigrate from another country? Add Phyllis's last known location.

Average Age

Life Expectancy


Husband: Adolph Green
Children with Adolph: Amanda Green and Adam Green


Did Phyllis finish grade school, get a GED, go to high school, get a college degree or masters? What schools or universities did Phyllis attend? Add education.


Musical Comedy Star
Ms. Newman won a Tony in 1962 as best featured actress in a musical for “Subways Are for Sleeping,” whose book and lyrics were written by her husband, Adolph Green, and his regular collaborator, Betty Comden. In the show, Ms. Newman played a long-term resident of the Brunswick Arms who, to stave off eviction, has shut herself in her room, a role that required Ms. Newman to spend the play in an unusual costume.
“Her line is that she is sick,” Howard Taubman wrote of the character in his review in The New York Times, “and to prove it she wears a towel wrapped around her excellently appointed torso. The only addition to her costume all evening is a pair of black gloves.”
The musical ran for 205 performances, not an enduring hit but good enough to earn her the Tony over another emerging star, Barbra Streisand, who had been nominated in the same category for “I Can Get It for You Wholesale.”
The night Ms. Newman won the Tony, she was seated next to the producer David Merrick, who, she recalled in a 2004 interview with The Times, “turned to me and said, ‘I voted for Barbra Streisand.’ And then they announced my name. It was one of the sweetest moments in life.”


Add organizations, groups and memberships.

Military Service

It is unknown if Phyllis Newman is a military veteran.

Middle name

Unknown. Add middle name

Maiden name

Unknown. Add maiden name



Unknown. Add Phyllis's ethnicity.


Unknown. Add Phyllis's nationality.


Unknown. Was Phyllis a religious woman? Add Phyllis’s religion




Want to know what happened during Phyllis Newman's life? Enter her date of birth or date of death and you can see a timeline of events during her lifetime.

In 1934, on June 6th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was formed as a response to the stock market crash of 1929 and the continuing Great Depression. Previously, the states regulated the offering and sales of stocks - called "blue sky" laws. They were largely ineffective. Roosevelt created a group (one member was Joseph Kennedy, father of the future President Kennedy) who knew Wall Street well and they defined the mission and operating mode for the SEC. The new organization had broad and stringent rules and oversight and restored public confidence in the stock market in the United States.

In 1948, on May 14th, the State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel's first Premier, and the U.S. officially recognized Israel. That evening, Egypt launched an air assault on Israel.

In 1951, on April 5th, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (husband and wife) were sentenced to death for treason. They were executed on June 19th. American citizens, they were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Their two young sons were adopted by a high school teacher and his wife.

In 1968, on April 4th, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader, was shot and killed by an assassin in Memphis. James Earl Ray was apprehended and plead guilty to shooting Dr. King. Ray died in jail in 1998.

In 1987, on October 19th, stock exchanges around the world crashed. Beginning in Hong Kong then spreading to Europe, the crash then hit the United States. It was called Black Monday. The Dow Jones fell 508 points to 1,738.74 (22.61%).

Phyllis Newman Family Tree

Who was Phyllis’s parents? Did she get married and did they have children? Share Phyllis’s family tree to share her legacy and genealogy pedigree.

Phyllis's Family
Add a parent
Add a parent
Phyllis Newman
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a sibling
edit Phyllis Newman & Adolph Green
Phyllis Newman

You can add or remove people from Phyllis's family tree by clicking here.


This obit of Phyllis Newman is updated by the community. Edit this biography to contribute to her obituary. Include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Phyllis Newman, Tony Award-Winning Star, Is Dead at 86
She was also a familiar face on television and raised millions of dollars to help women in entertainment deal with health problems.
Phyllis Newman with Orson Bean in the Broadway show “Subways Are for Sleeping.” Her performance won her a Tony in 1962 as best featured actress in a musical.
Phyllis Newman, a Tony Award-winning actress who was a fixture of New York theater for more than a half-century, a familiar game show panelist and a fund-raiser on behalf of women in entertainment dealing with illness, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 86.
Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Amanda Green.
Ms. Newman accumulated a half-dozen more Broadway credits, receiving a Tony nomination for her last, in 1986, in the Neil Simon play “Broadway Bound.” She also appeared Off Broadway, including in the Nicky Silver play “The Food Chain” in 1995 and James Lapine’s “The Moment When” in 2000.
Ms. Newman in a 1998 production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn,
Ms. Newman’s career came to include television and movies as well. In the 1960s and ’70s she was a frequent panelist on the game shows “What’s My Line?,” “Password,” “To Tell the Truth” and “The Match Game.” Her wit drew admirers, including the talk show host Johnny Carson, who made her a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show.”
Later in life Ms. Newman made a mark as a women’s health advocate and fund-raiser. After learning more than 30 years ago that she had breast cancer, she founded the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, a program of the Actors Fund of America. She went on to raise millions of dollars for the fund, efforts that brought her a special Tony, the Isabelle Stevenson Award, in 2009.
Ms. Newman was born on March 19, 1933, in Jersey City. But her acting career began in Atlantic City.
Her mother, Rachel Newman, had immigrated from Lithuania and worked as a fortuneteller on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Her father, Sigmund Archur, came from Warsaw and was a hypnotist.
At age 4, Ms. Newman performed in a Carmen Miranda routine at hotels. “We were just your ordinary all-American family trying to make a buck in the summer before the ‘big war,’” she recalled in her 1988 book, “Just in Time: Notes From My Life.”
Ms. Newman got her start on Broadway as a child in the short-lived musical “You’ll See Stars” in 1942. A decade later she had a role in the musical “Wish You Were Here”; later in the 1950s she was one of Judy Holliday’s understudies in “Bells Are Ringing,” for which Mr. Green and Ms. Comden wrote the book and lyrics.
Ms. Newman and Mr. Green married in 1960. In a 1998 interview with The Star Ledger of Newark, she recalled with some pique having to audition multiple times for “Subways Are for Sleeping,” even though he was one of its authors.
“My husband watched me audition five times,” she said. “I was livid! Believe me, this was the first time an actress got the part by not sleeping with the author.”
Jack Viertel, a senior vice president at Jujamcyn Theaters and the author of “The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built,” described Ms. Newman as “a little bit outlandish, a little bit unpredictable.”
“That sort of gave her a unique quality in the realm of how youngish women were treated in the ’60s onstage,” he said.
Her next Broadway appearance was as a replacement player in “The Apple Tree,” and then, in 1971, she was in a revival of “On the Town.” Clive Barnes, in his review in The Times, said she “danced and sang with just the right style and gusto.”
Ms. Newman and her husband were at the center of the New York theater world, friendly with Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Harold Prince and more. Ms. Newman, though, didn’t have quite as full a stage career as some of her contemporaries.
Ms. Newman at her home in Manhattan in 2004. After a long career in theater, television and movies, she made a mark as a women’s health advocate and fund-raiser.
Ms. Newman at her home in Manhattan in 2004. After a long career in theater, television and movies, she made a mark as a women’s health advocate and fund-raiser. CreditChester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
“I know everybody in the world,” she lamented to The Times in 1969, “and they never hire me for anything.”
Perhaps driven by that frustration, she expanded into cabaret. In one incarnation of her show in the late 1960s, she did impersonations of women whose stars had shone brighter than hers. “Hello, gawjus,” she would say in a bit impersonating Ms. Streisand, whom she had once bested for that Tony; she’d then sing, “People, people who are Barbra, are the luckiest people in the world.”
She drew on her own experiences in 1978 for a musical show originally titled “My Mother Was a Fortune Teller,” an Off Broadway production directed by Arthur Laurents. The next year, with her and Mr. Laurents now credited as authors, a revised version of it called “The Madwoman of Central Park West” ran for 85 performances on Broadway.
Mr. Green died in 2002. In addition to their daughter, Ms. Green, a Broadway lyricist and composer, Ms. Newman is survived by their son, Adam Green, a theater critic.
Ms. Green said her parents had inspired her and her brother’s careers. “We saw how much fun they were having, doing what they were doing,” she said.
After her cancer diagnosis, Ms. Newman set an example for other women by talking about her experience and feelings openly at a time when many cancer survivors were still uncomfortable doing so.
“The first time I was asked about my mastectomies on television, I was shocked,” she once told The Boston Globe. “It was hard to say the words ‘breast cancer’ on television. Breasts are so personal.”
“I do know this,” she added. “A positive mental attitude has a positive effect on my body. It helps the healing process. I refused to believe that I was going to die quickly.”

Share a Memory about Phyllis Newman

What do you remember about Phyllis Newman? Share your memories of special moments and stories you have heard about her. Or just leave a comment to show the world that Phyllis is remembered.

Other Records of Phyllis Newman


Followers & Sources

Success Stories from Biographies like Phyllis Newman

I have to tell you a VERY special story about how AncientFaces helped to reunite our family. For 13 years, I have been searching for my grandmother's missing sister. She just disappeared from the family in the 1930s without a trace. No one ever knew where or when she died or where she was buried. My years of searching have just run into dead ends, so I had given up. Today, out-of-the-blue, a young lady called me and said that she had seen a photograph on AncientFaces and one of the women in the photo was her grandmother! Little did I know that she had left a small child behind when she died so young of TB. You can imagine our shock and excitement at finding each other and a whole new family that we never knew existed. We only live one state away from each other and very soon plan to have all family members meet to share our sides of "the story" and of course, many, many more picturesl AncientFaces...... without you, this family may never have been complete and Aunt Grace would have been lost to us forever. I hope you realize what a valuable service you provide and how grateful we are to have found you. Thank you!!!! -Lynda B.
I never knew my biological family. My family is my mother and father who raised me. But, as I got older I got curious about my heritage. It took me years of investigation to finally discover my parents’ names. Well, I get goosebumps just writing this, I have found my biological family because of AncientFaces. Yes!! I did a search for my [parents' names] and was shocked to find a photo of them on AncientFaces! I cannot tell you the feeling that came over me when I saw this photo - to see the faces of my biological parents…JUST LIKE THAT. I left a comment on the photo and you won’t believe this - the owner of the photo is MY SISTER!!! Yes, I have a LITTLE sister! It turns out my parents were too young when they had me and had to give me up. My little sister knew I existed and wanted to find me but had no way of doing it. Thanks to you I am meeting my little sister for the first time next month. GOD BLESS YOU ANCIENTFACES. -Anonymous
We have found our missing relative entirely thanks to AncientFaces. We have received a much clearer photo of Captain Grant from his Son. The picture we on AncientFaces is an old yellowed newspaper photo. I am attaching the new photo and ask that you take the old one out and put the new clear picture in its place. With our Canadian Remembrance Day here in 2 days - the timing could not be better. Thank You, AncientFaces. My long lost Aunt is now 86 years old and her Son and I are talking by phone and e-mails. Captain Grant was his Father and died in France in 1944 and is buried there. By posting pictures of the visit to his gravesite - we connected through one of his brothers. Amazing that our prayers have been answered. Thank you -Beth B.
I came home for lunch yesterday and decided to look at my email before going back to work. The weekly newsletter that I subscribe to from the Logan Family History Center had this message in it about AncientFaces. I clicked on the link and the first search I did was for Woodruff, and Mamie was the first picture that came up. I could hardly stand it. I was late getting back to work. I had to add comments and write to you. Thank you for noticing her in the store and for the website. I can't help but wonder how many other family pictures may have ended up in that store and why. I also can't help but feel that it was meant to be and that there is a purpose that this picture is coming home as you say. What are the chances of this all just happening? It's amazing that you even picked it up at the store and then went to all the extra effort to post it. It makes me feel as though you have been my friend forever. It certainly has given me a connection to you, and I have a love for what you do. I just can't tell you how excited I am. I can't even hold it in. -Cathy K., Utah
I have previously submitted several pictures of my grandfather August Zemidat. I have tried for many years to find anyone with that name, and I have searched many genealogy web sites to no avail. Recently I was contacted by someone who saw my pictures on AncientFaces who may well be a cousin. She also provided me with information that seems to indicate her grandparents were my grandfather’s siblings. Considering the many years I have been searching for the name Zemidat, I find this is absolutely amazing that I have finally found a family member. Thank you AncientFaces -Ron D.
I love AncientFaces, a while back I saw that you had labeled Garcia surname pictures. At the time I didn’t have all my family facts for my research. Anyway, I wandered into your site just to check it out AND NOW 1 YEAR LATER I received a picture from an 87 year old aunt and guess what you had this very same picture on your site!! (They were my great aunts and my great-grandmother!). Thank you… -Angela M.
I have loved AncientFaces since I first found it, it's the first thing I check when I turn on the computer. There was a time when even in the most modest households there were three cherished possessions, a family Bible. a family album and a fancy lamp. It was usual for the family to gather in the parlour, generally on Sunday and talk, tell stories of family and friends with the photos in the albums as illustration. Sadly in our modern electronic age we have fallen away from the oral tradition and interest in history has waned. I was quite shocked on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic to see so many comments from younger people who were surprised to learn that the Titanic wasn't just a movie. This is why AncientFaces is so important, to me it's the electronic age version of the oral tradition on a global scale and the sheer volume of people who follow, comment and contribute seems to prove the point. We are all grateful to you all for providing us with this wonderful site. - Arba M.