Lois Smith, 90, becomes oldest performer to win Tony Award

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Lois Smith, a 90-year-old character actor who has worked Broadway stages since the 1950s and appeared frequently on film over the decades, captured her first Tony Award on Sunday, becoming the oldest performer ever to win a trophy at the awards show.

The prolific Kansas-born actress received the best featured actress in a play award for her performance as a caretaker for men in “The Inheritance,” an exploration of contemporary gay culture.

Sporting an ear-to-ear grin at the Tonys, Smith said she “marveled” each night at the cast of the play, which had its run cut slightly short when COVID pulled the curtain down on Broadway on March 12, 2020.

“I love the processes of the live theater,” Smith said in her speech.

Cicely Tyson previously held the oldest-winner record.

Tyson, who died in January at 96, won a Tony for best actress in a play in 2013, when she was 88. She earned the award for her role in “The Trip to Bountiful.”

Smith made her Broadway debut in 1952. She picked up her first Tony nomination in 1990 for her turn in “The Grapes of Wrath” and also was nominated in 1996 for her role in “Buried Child.”

In her tenth decade, the third time was the charm.

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