( b. Jul 14, 1930 Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - d. Sep 20, 2014 Southbury, Connecticut, USA ) Female
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
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