( b. Sep 18, 1929 Syracuse, New York, USA - d. Oct 19, 2006 Woodland Hills, California, USA ) Female
Of Danish descent, she was born Phyllis Kirkegaard in 1929 in Syracuse, New York. After working as a waitress, shop assistant and model, she moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, in her late teens to be able to study acting in New York City with the famed coach Sanford Meisner.
She made her Broadway début, having shortened her last name to Kirk, in 1949 in the French comedy, My Name is Aquilon. Although the play was a flop, Kirk's performance was noticed by a talent scout for Sam Goldwyn, who brought her to Hollywood.
Her film credits include the Goldwyn drama “Our Very Own” (1950), the MGM musical “Two Weeks With Love”, Warner Brothers’ “About Face”, “The Iron Mistress”, “Stop, You're Killing Me”, “House of Wax”, “Thunder Over the Plains” (1953), “Crime Wave”, “River Beat” (1954), “Johnny Concho” with Frank Sinatra (1956) and “The Sad Sack” with Jerry Lewis (1957).
Television credits include “Studio One”, “Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars”, “The Ford Television Theatre”, “The Great Gatsby” for “Robert Montgomery Presents” with Montgomery as Gatsby and Kirk as Daisy, and, most notably, the role of Nora Charles in “The Thin Man” (1957-59).
As a child, Kirk had battled with polio, and in the early seventies, after a fall damaged her hip, she had trouble walking. During her film career, she had contributed articles to the newspaper of the American Civil Liberties Union, and as her acting career slowed, she devoted more time to political and social causes, gaining particular notoriety when she joined other celebrities, including Ray Bradbury and Norman Mailer, in campaigning against the death sentence of the convicted murderer Caryl Chessman.
Before her retirement in 1992, Kirk also worked in public relations and as a publicist for CBS News.
Source: The Independent