Eileen Heckart was an American actress of stage, screen, and television.
Heckart was born Anna Eileen Heckart in Columbus, Ohio, the daughter of Esther and Leo Herbert. She was legally adopted by her grandfather, J.W. Heckart. Her family was of Irish and German descent. She graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A. in drama.
Heckart began her Broadway career as the assistant stage manager and an understudy for The Voice of the Turtle in 1943. Her many credits include Picnic, The Bad Seed, A View from the Bridge, A Memory of Two Mondays, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, A Family Affair, Barefoot in the Park, Butterflies Are Free, and You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running. Her awards include Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, a 2000 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for the off-Broadway The Waverley Gallery, and the 1953 Theatre World Award for Picnic. Her nominations include a 1996 Drama Desk Award for Northeast Local and Tony nods for Butterflies Are Free, Invitation to a March, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.
Heckart won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 1972 movie adaptation of Butterflies Are Free and was nominated in 1956 for her performance as the bereaved, besotted Mrs. Daigle in The Bad Seed. She also appeared as a Vietnam War widow with Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge.