Hollywood’s oldest working actress
She’s 104 years old and still working! Born in November 27, 1912 in Pueblo, Colorado to Jewish immigrants from Romania, and grew up in Oakland, California her early career included working as a stand-up comedian and nightclub performer. Sawyer’s first television appearances were in The Milton Berle Show and The Jackie Gleason Show in the late 1940s and The Colgate Comedy Hour in the early 1950s. In 1959 she was cast in the comedy film A Hole in the Head, which starred Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson and Eleanor Parker. She had performed in the original Broadway play as Miss Wexler, a character she created. When Sinatra bought the rights to the movie, the writer informed him that he hadn’t written the part of Miss Wexler and Sinatra would have to ask Sawyer for rights to that character. Sinatra decided to hire Sawyer for his movie as the same role she played in the Broadway play. He later nominated her for membership in the Academy of Motion Pictures.
She continued to appear regularly on television, in such series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Will & Grace, That ’70s Show, 8 Simple Rules, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, ER, and How I Met Your Mother.
In 2012 Sawyer, at the age of 99, was one of the oldest members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She turned 100 in November 2012.Author and gerontologist Jacob Appel MD paid tribute to Sawyer by modelling a minor character after her in his novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up (2012)