‘Sixteen Candles’ and Broadway Star Carlin Glynn Dies at 83

Carlin Glynn, a Tony Award-winning actress and singer known for her role as Brenda Baker in the 1984 hit “Sixteen Candles” and the Broadway smash “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” died July 13, she was 83.Glynn died of complications from dementia and cancer, according to Deadline.

Her daughter, director and actress Mary Stuart Masterson, confirmed the news on Instagram.

“She was the most graceful clumsy person you would ever meet,” Masterson wrote in a heartfelt post. “Strong, smart, silly, intuitive, kind, generous, passionate and a deep listener.”

The post continued, “She was devoted to my father and to the enormous circle of students and collaborators who were considered her chosen family.

Masterson included a carousel of photos of her mom in the post, the last one of her wearing a crown and embracing her son, Peter Masterson Jr. “The last photo is from her 80th birthday party, before the worst of dementia and cancer took their toll,” her daughter wrote. “She never lost her sense of joy or wonder.”

Glynn was born Feb. 19, 1940, in Cleveland and raised in Houston where she attended the Mirabeau B. Lamar High School, per her bio on IMDb.

After high school, she moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio, according to Deadline, and then moved back to Houston, where she met her husband, actor and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” playwright Peter Masterson.

They married in 1960 and moved back to New York City.

She made her acting debut as Mae Barber in the 1975 film “Three Days of the Condor,” opposite Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.

But on the big screen, Glynn was best remembered for the movie “Sixteen Candles,” in which she played the mother of oft-ignored teen Samantha Baker, portrayed by Molly Ringwald.

In 1978, her husband debuted the Broadway hit “Best Little Whorehouse,” which he co-wrote with author Larry King in collaboration with legendary songwriter Carol Hall. The show was based on a 1974 article written by King about the real brothel in La Grange, Texas.

Glynn played the character Miss Mona Stangley, who was the madam in the show’s setting of Gilbert, Texas. Originally, though, Glynn recalled that she was only a part of the show to “help out” in the beginning, fearing her connection as Masterson’s wife could raise eyebrows.

“I initially worked on the play only to help out,” Glynn said in a July 1978 interview with the New York Times. “Peter was hesitant to force his wife on his collaborators. Finally, all four of the organizations who wanted to take the show to Broadway wanted me to stay in the part. So then I stopped worrying about nepotism.”

The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1979. Glynn ended up winning for Best Actress in a Musical, while her co-star, Henderson Forsythe, also nabbed the Best Actor in a Musical honor. In 1982, when the show was reprised on Broadway, she revived her role as Stangley.

On television, she appeared as Meg Tresch in the 1991 TV series “Mr. President” and Jessie Mae in the 1985 movie “The Trip to Bountiful,” among other roles.

Glynn was also a lifelong member of the Actors Studio.

She was predeceased by Masterson, who died Sept. 18, 2018, in Kinderhook, New York, after a fall at his home.

She is survived by her children, Alexandra Masterson, Mary Stuart Masterson and Peter Masterson Jr. 

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