The captivating, brassy Elaine Stritch

Actress Elaine Stritch, subject of a new documentary, 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me."
CBS News

Elaine Stritch has been wowing Broadway audiences for more than two-thirds of a century now -- and she still can more than hold her own with a television interviewer, as Lee Cowan discovered:

" 'Oh my God look at that, she's 89 years old!' " said Stritch.

"Do you feel 89?" asked Cowan.


"I'm sorry I asked!"

"I'm sorry you asked, too!" she laughed.

CBS News

To sit down with Broadway legend Elaine Stritch is like being treated to a one-woman show where nothing is off-limits -- and it's quickly clear who's in charge.

She said, "You are one good-looking . . . "

"Are you -- " Cowan interjected.

"Let me finish! You are one good-looking fella, I'll tell you the truth."

"So years ago, we could have been a thing, you and me?"

"Oh my God, yes! Oh my God yes, Are you crazy?"

That's saying a lot coming from the leggy, mouthy blonde who took Broadway by storm. For an astounding 70 years, Stritch captivated audiences, from Noel Coward's "Sail Away," to William Inge's "Bus Stop," and Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance."

Elaine Stritch with Ben Astar in the 1954 revival of "On Your Toes."
Photograph by Talbot/New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theatre Division

Stritch was poignant, funny, irascible, and most of all, just downright brassy.

She told Cowan, "I'm loaded with talent."

"And you're not shy about saying that?"

"Oh no, I'm loaded! I loved music, and I loved a rhythm, and loved [singing] -- I loved all that stuff. And I loved musical comedy. Ooooh!"

That throaty, unmistakable voice became synonymous with composer Stephen Sondheim, especially her rendition of "The Ladies Who Lunch" from "Company."

She's won countless awards, including a Tony, and three Emmys, her most recent for her role as Alec Baldwin's firecracker of a mother on NBC's "30 Rock."

Time, however, is intruding into her life in a not-so-delicate manner.

And yet, in true Elaine Stritch style, she's decided to make aging a performance.