She schemed and plotted against her Sopranos son as matriarch of the mafia family, and earned one final tribute for that role during the Emmy awards broadcast.
Marchand was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award, with the prize going to Allison Janney of The West Wing. Janney took a moment to honor Marchand during her acceptance speech.
“I’m standing here for one reason: because of the sheer inspiration I’ve received from watching other actresses over my life, particularly in the theater,” Janney said. “Four of them are in this category, especially the exquisite, elegant Nancy Marchand.”
The 71-year-old actress died in June, after suffering from lung cancer, although she did her best to prevent the disease from slowing her down. Marchand decided to go on with the second season of the acclaimed HBO series — even after she was diagnosed with the disease that claimed her life.
‘We All Loved Her’
Marchand portrayed Livia as sullen, self-pitying and Machiavellian. She seemed intent upon destroying her son Tony, played by James Gandolfini. She conspired with her brother-in-law, Tony’s underhanded rival for the family business, at one point suggesting a hit be ordered on her own flesh and blood.
“Nancy Marchand was one of the main reasons why Sopranos was such a big hit,” fellow Soprano actor Vincent Pastore told ABCNEWS. “Without Nancy we probably wouldn’t have had a complete family.”
“Even though she was sick and even though she was going through a lot of grief with the loss of her husband recently, she came to work tall and beautiful like a peacock and delivered 100 percent.
“We knew she was sick and we all loved her. But I think the work kept her going.”
At a Sopranos cast party in January, Marchand was confined to a wheelchair and had trouble breathing. When asked if she was strong enough to go on with her duties on the show, Marchand, a four-time Emmy winner, told ABCNEWS Radio’s Bill Diehl, “You bet your ass I am.”
She said the quality of the show inspired her to go on. “I think it’s so well written, and I’m proud to be a part of that & [the characters] are very real.” The Sopranos was nominated for 18 Emmy’s a leading amount only matched by The West Wing.
ABCNEWS Radio entertainment correspondent Bill Diehl, ABCNEWS.com’s Buck Wolf and the Associated Press contributed to this report.