Actress and activist Eleanor Dirrane, 90


Eleanor Littlefield Dirrane, a resident of Riverdale for more than 45 years, passed over on March 20, 2019, in Port Charlotte, Florida, where she had resided for the past 12 years.

She was 90.

She is survived by twin daughters, Jennifer Dirrane of Port Charlotte and Stephanie Martin (Edward) of Sherman, Connecticut, as well as a grandson Philip Morton of Seattle.

She also has four nephews and one niece from her only sibling, Marjorie Arnett, who preceded her in death. They are Steven Arnett, Dr. Michael Arnett, Claudia Steinbrecher, Dr. Jeffrey Jensen-Arnett, and Dr. Peter Arnett.

In addition, she has five great-nieces and two great-nephews.

She was born in Albany, and grew up in Delmar, a nearby suburb. She gradated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in speech. While there, she developed an interest in theatre arts.

After graduating, she pursued an acting career, appearing in different productions around the New York area. She also did background work in a number of films as a member of Actors’ Equity and the Screen Actors Guild. Through these experiences, she was able to meet and work with many famous actors. Even in her late 70s, she would take the subway to Manhattan when called upon by SAG to be an extra on movie productions and television shows like “Law & Order.”

She also had her own interior design business, and worked in public relations and writing.

After marrying, she moved to Riverdale, raising her children and being active in many community organizations. She was on the parent association board of P.S. 81, a leader of a Campfire Girls group, a member of the Democratic Club, and the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, for which she sang in the choir, performed solos, was a deacon, and organized the World Day of Prayer.

She was a lead actress for more than 20 years for Riverdale Community Theater, always receiving stellar reviews.

Throughout her life, she was involved in various causes, including the working conditions in underdeveloped countries, prison reform, and support of an orphanage in Haiti. She had a great love for animals and cared deeply for the less fortunate. Her family is grateful for her love and example.

There will be a celebration of Eleanor Dirrane’s life July 29, 2019, at the Calvary Christian Church in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, at 3 p.m., with an interment following at the Willow Cemetery in Lynnfield. Cards or communication may be addressed to Jennifer Dirrane, 3387 Pinetree St., Port Charlotte, FL, 33952, or Stephanie Martin at

Eleanor Dirrane,