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Polly Bergen

( b. Jul 14, 1930 Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - d. Sep 20, 2014 Southbury, Connecticut, USA ) Female
Also known as: Nellie Paulina Burgin [Birthname]
Relations: Wife of Jerome Courtland (1950 - 1955) divorced
Wife of Freddie Fields (1956 - 1973) divorced
Wife of Jeffrey Endervelt (1982 - 1990) divorced

Ms. Bergen was an actress, singer and businesswoman who won an Emmy Award in 1958 for her portrayal of the alcoholic torch singer Helen Morgan and was nominated for another 50 years later for her role on “Desperate Housewives.”

She was in her early teens when her family moved to Los Angeles, and she soon began singing on the radio and in nightclubs. As a teenager, she began her career singing hillbilly songs on the radio and quickly found roles in movies.

Those performances brought her to the attention of executives at Paramount Pictures, who signed her to a contract.

She made her movie debut as a cantina singer in “Across the Rio Grande” (1949), whose credits listed her as Polly Burgin. In her next film, “At War With the Army” (1950), the first of the three she made with Martin and Lewis (the others were “The Stooge” and “That’s My Boy”), she became Polly Bergen.

Ms. Bergen’s career highlights included a chilling turn as the menaced wife of a lawyer (Gregory Peck) stalked by a psychopathic convict (Robert Mitchum) in the 1962 film “Cape Fear,” five years as a panelist on the CBS game show “To Tell the Truth” and a Tony-nominated performance as a gritty former showgirl in the 2001 revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies.

The song Ms. Bergen performed in that show, “I’m Still Here,” could well have served as her own defiant anthem.

She made her Broadway debut in the 1953 revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac in a cast that also featured Hermione Gingold, Billy De Wolfe and Harry Belafonte.

In 2000, she returned to the New York stage. When she appeared in New York at Feinstein’s at the Regency, Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that her performance “was, in a word, great.” She returned to Broadway the following year in Follies.. After this production, Ms. Bergen appeared in an Off Broadway revival of Cabaret in 2002; in the short-lived two-character drama Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks on Broadway in 2003, with Mark Hamill as her co-star; and in a number of television shows, including ABC’s “Commander in Chief” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Source: The New York Times obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Polly Bergen [Lily Harrison]
Oct 29, 2003 - Nov 23, 2003
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Also Starring: Polly Bergen [Carlotta Campion]
Apr 05, 2001 - Jul 14, 2001
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Performer: Polly Bergen
        Fraulein Schneider - Replacement (Mar 25, 2002 - Sep 08, 2002)
Mar 19, 1998 - Jan 04, 2004
Love Letters
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Polly Bergen
        Melissa Gardner - Replacement (Jan 02, 1990 - Jan 07, 1990)
Oct 31, 1989 - Jan 21, 1990
First Impressions
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Polly Bergen [Elizabeth Bennett]
Mar 19, 1959 - May 30, 1959
Champagne Complex
[Play, Farce, Original]
  • Starring: Polly Bergen [Allyn Macy]
Apr 12, 1955 - Apr 30, 1955
John Murray Anderson's Almanac
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Starring: Polly Bergen [Singer of "I Dare to Dream", Singer of "Fini", Singer of "The Earth and the Sky"]
  • Starring: Polly Bergen [Meg]
Dec 10, 1953 - Jun 26, 1954
2001 Tony Award® Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Follies [nominee]
Also Starring: Polly Bergen
2001 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Follies [nominee]
Also Starring: Polly Bergen
Find out where Polly Bergen and are credited together