Adrianne Tolsch, a pioneering figure among female stand-up comics, a Broadway performer and the wife of former Late Show With David Letterman writer Bill Scheft, died today at her home in New York City. She was 78 and succumbed to esophageal cancer.
Scheft broke the news to friends on his Twitter page.
Tolsch was perhaps best known for her association in the 1970s with the famed Catch a Rising Star comedy club, where she performed, emceed and managed. A bio on a comedy booking site says she headlined every major comedy club in the United States, as well as casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and venues in London, Melbourne, and even Tasmania. She opened for such acts as Jay Leno, The Pointer Sisters, Bobby Vinton, Pat Cooper, and Billy Crystal.
She performed in the 1992 Broadway musical and comedy revue 3 From Brooklyn. Her one-woman cabaret show Trucks, Guns and Mayonnaise won the 2004 Cabaret Hotline Award, which she also received in 2006 for her show None of Your Damn Business.
Tolsch and Scheft are executive producers of new documentary Take My Nose…Please! Women, Comedy & Plastic Surgery, produced and directed by Joan Kron. The film’s website says a final cut of the doc was locked in mid-September 2016, with fest announcements and distribution plans upcoming.
Tolsch is survived by Scheft, son David Kerzner and grandson Jonas. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, January 4 at St. Peter’s Church in New York.