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Emily Cobb, Actress, Gardener, Animal Lover

Thu, 03/07/2024 - 10:55

Dec. 16, 1921 - Feb. 26, 2024

Emily Morgan Cobb, an actress and early supporter of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, died at home in Springs on Feb. 26 at the age of 102.

During her stage career, Ms. Cobb worked with such luminaries as Mary Martin, Basil Rathbone, and Helen Hayes. She appeared in Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” in Paris and on Broadway in 1955. It was also presented live with the original cast on NBC-TV at the end of its run. “The theater to me was every kind of school and graduate course that one could possibly have,” she once said in an interview.

The choreographer Bob Fosse and the actress Gwen Verdon, Ms. Cobb’s close friends, were responsible for her discovery of and dedication to eastern Long Island, where, in 1961, she and the painter Ann Stanwell bought a turn-of-the-century cottage on Old Stone Highway in Springs. It had been moved from East Hampton some years earlier, and the property was barren, but soon a garden was developed and became the focus of Ms. Cobb’s attention. For almost 50 years, the profusion of spring tulips and daffodils was opened to visitors for benefits supporting East End organizations and for the Garden Conservancy. Photographs of her garden have appeared in national and international publications, and quite a few times in this paper as well.

She was one of the very earliest supporters of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, with Barbara H. Posener and Sonny Schotland, and her generosity helped to make its Wainscott shelter a reality. Over the years, the house on Old Stone Highway was home to countless ex-stray dogs and cats. “They lived like the kings and queens Emily believed them to be,” her family wrote.

Ms. Cobb was a dedicated swimmer who swam daily in Accabonac Harbor from early June until early October. “She loved to entertain and the highlight of every year were the holidays with family and the beach picnics on summer evenings on Amagansett beaches. Her vehicles required towing out more often than she liked to admit,” relatives recalled.

Ms. Cobb was born in Boston on Dec. 16, 1921, to Robert C. Cobb and the former Emily Bullard. She grew up on the family property, Old Pickard Farm in Littleton, Mass., and attended Concord Academy, Beaver Country Day School, and Saint Mary’s in the Mountains. “Among the happiest days of her life was the end of schooling and the beginning of her years as an actress,” the family wrote. “When asked by her father if she’d like to go to college, she replied that she’d rather go to Hollywood. Those early years in the theater were a tremendous education.”

She is survived by her nieces Susan Graseck of Pomfret, Conn., Jane Cobb of Medfield, Mass., Deborah Carballiera Indian Hills, Colo., and Melinda Morgan of Dover, N.H., and nephews John Perkins of Tiverton, R.I., Robert Perkins of Camden, Me., and William Perkins of Concord, Mass. Eleven great-nieces and great-nephews survive as well. Her ashes will be buried at Green River Cemetery in Springs and at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass.

The family has suggested memorial contributions to ARF, P.O. Box 901, Wainscott 11975, or online at

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