Actress Elaine Stritch talks career, alcoholism, living in Michigan

By Karen Drew, Local 4 Defender, Anchor, @KDrewLocal4, kdrew@wdiv.com
Published On: Mar 28 2014 11:15:00 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2014 02:56:04 AM EDT

Local 4's Karen Drew sits down with actress Elaine Stritch to talk about her long career, her battle with alcoholism and her life in Michigan.

DETROIT -

Expect the unexpected when you’re dealing with Elaine Stritch.

Most know her from Broadway, while the more recent generation knows her from NBC’s “30 Rock, where she played Alec Baldwin’s mother.

No matter how you know her, she’s memorable. 

Cameras have been following her for the past year documenting her life, her health battles and her growing struggle to perform on a stage.

The documentary is called “Elaine Stritch: Shoot me,” and while crowds are showing up at theaters to learn more about her, Stritch has had a total life shift.

She’s left New York for a more laid back life in Michigan. She moved to Birmingham to be closer to family, and where she could get help for her failing health. She’s in a wheelchair now, but that doesn’t stop her from going out on the town – and even creating some buzz with her comments.

“I thought it was a funny line, and so I said it,” Stritch told Local 4. She’s referring to a comment she made about needing a drink while she was out with some women.

“I didn’t get to be 89 years old not to be able to say a genuinely funny line in or out of downtown Birmingham,” she said.

The comment struck a chord because it was an admission that she is drinking again. The self-proclaimed alcoholic spent more than two decades avoiding alcoholic.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could go without alcohol, if I chose to. And I chose to. So, therefore, get off my back,” Stritch said.

Her million-dollar condo is filled with mementos from her past life. There are photographs of awards, old friends and even her visit to the White House to meet President Barack Obama.

Elaine Stritch pictures

“You know what I told him in the White House? I told him, I said, ‘You know what I’d like to do?’ And don’t get mad at me, I wanted to get drunk with him,” Stritch said.

Her request wasn’t granted.

Stritch’s storytelling is like no other, especially her humor.

“I care about human beings, and that’s that way I make fun of them,” she said.

Elaine Stritch picture

Stritch is currently recovering from surgery on her stomach.

Her documentary will be show in Birmingham on April 4.

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