Broadway's 'Annie' star dies at 70

— Broadway star Dorothy Loudon, winner of the 1977 Tony Award for her portrayal of the mean-spirited orphanage manager in "Annie," died Saturday. She was 70.

Loudon had been ill with cancer, said her manager and longtime friend, Lionel Larner.

The three-time Tony nominee landed her most famous role as the result of a chance encounter with an old friend, director Mike Nichols, who had taken over as producer of the show. He quickly offered her the role of Miss Hannigan -- the nemesis of the show's orphaned star.

Loudon was an instant success, winning the Tony, a Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics' Circle Award.

Prior to her success in "Annie," Loudon was repeatedly cited as a shining star in a series of Broadway flops, including "The Fig Leaves Are Falling," a comedy that closed after just four performances in 1969.

Loudon received a Drama Desk Award for her performance nonetheless, and was nominated for a Tony as best actress in a musical. She also was nominated in 1979 for her work in "Ballroom," but lost out to Angela Lansbury in both cases.

Later, in the Broadway hit "Sweeney Todd," Loudon took over for Lansbury, and she received rave reviews for her 1983 performance as a washed-up television comedienne in "Noises Off."

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