David Bowie rehearses a scene in the Broadway show "The Elephant Man" with co-star Patricia Elliott, right, in 1980. (Marty Lederhandler/AP)

Patricia Elliott, who won a Tony Award playing a countess in the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music” and later spent 23 years with the TV soap opera “One Life to Live” as a brothel madam who becomes a society matron, died Dec. 20 at her home in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was cancer, said a niece, Sally Fay.

Ms. Elliott’s Broadway breakthrough came in “A Little Night Music” (1973), a musical and romance based on the Ingmar Bergman film “Smiles of a Summer Night.” Playing the depressive and downtrodden Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Ms. Elliott won the Tony for best featured actress.

She also was nominated for a Tony in 1977 in the original production of “The Shadow Box,” Michael Cristofer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about terminal illness. Her other Broadway credits include “The Elephant Man” — playing the actress Madge Kendal in a production that included David Bowie as the disfigured John Merrick — “A Doll’s House,” “A Month of Sundays” and “Hedda Gabler.”

Ms. Elliott also played Renee Divine Buchanan on the ABC daytime drama “One Life to Live” from 1988 to 2011. In addition, she was on the “CBS Radio Mystery Theater” series from 1974 through 1982.

“Early on in my career, I learned not to be a snob because you have to make a living as an actor,” she told United Feature Syndicate in 1990. “Being on a soap has expanded my acting ability. I really enjoy the spontaneity of daytime and the opportunity to work regularly. It’s also wonderful to interrelate with the same people every day.”

Patricia Elliott was born in Gunnison, Colo., on July 21, 1938. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 1960 and worked at the Cleveland Play House, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and Arena Stage in Washington, among other venues.

Ms. Elliott had guest roles on TV shows such as “Kojak,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Hill Street Blues.”

Her marriage to Peter Heath ended in divorce. She had no immediate survivors.