Polly Bergen

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Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen 2012 Shankbone.JPG
BornNellie Paulina Burgin
(1930-07-14) July 14, 1930 (age 83)
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
OccupationActress, singer, entrepreneur
Years active1949–present
Spouse(s)Jerome Courtland (m. 1950–55)
Freddie Fields (m. 1956–73) 2 children
Jeffrey Endervelt (m. 1982–90)
 
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Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen 2012 Shankbone.JPG
BornNellie Paulina Burgin
(1930-07-14) July 14, 1930 (age 83)
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
OccupationActress, singer, entrepreneur
Years active1949–present
Spouse(s)Jerome Courtland (m. 1950–55)
Freddie Fields (m. 1956–73) 2 children
Jeffrey Endervelt (m. 1982–90)

Polly Bergen (born Nellie Paulina Burgin; July 14, 1930) is an American actress, singer, television host, and entrepreneur.

Career[edit]

Polly Bergen in 1953
Bergen at the 1989 Emmy Awards

Bergen appeared in many film roles, most notably in the original Cape Fear (1962) opposite Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. She had roles in three Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy films in the early 1950s: At War with the Army, That's My Boy and The Stooge. Later roles included Mrs. Vernon-Williams in Cry-Baby, a John Waters film.

Bergen received an Emmy award for her portrayal of singer, Helen Morgan, in the episode The Helen Morgan Story of the 1950s television series Playhouse 90. Signed to Columbia Records, she enjoyed a successful recording career during this era, as well. In the 1950s she also was known as "The Pepsi Cola Girl," having done a series of commercials for that product.

She was a regular panelist on the CBS game show To Tell the Truth, during its original run. She also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood.

In 1963 Bergen co-starred with Doris Day and James Garner in the film comedy, Move Over, Darling. Garner's character marries hers when he believes his long-lost wife (Day) to be deceased, only to have her turn up.

Bergen earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Rhoda Henry, wife of Capt. "Pug" Henry (played by Mitchum), in two ABC miniseries, The Winds of War and its sequel, War and Remembrance.

She starred in a 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Belasco Theater and received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

She also appeared as Fran Felstein on HBO's The Sopranos, the former mistress of Tony Soprano's father, and former mistress of John F. Kennedy.

From 2007 to 2011 Bergen had a guest role in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella Wingfield, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination.

Bergen became a semi-regular cast member of 2006's Commander-in-Chief as the mother of Mackenzie Allen, the President of the United States, played by Geena Davis. Bergen herself had once played the first female President of the United States, as President Leslie McCloud in the 1964 film, Kisses for My President.

Another of her recent appearances came in CBS's Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, Candles on Bay Street (2006), in which she played the assistant to a husband-and-wife team of veterinarians.

Personal life[edit]

Bergen was born in Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, the daughter of Lucy (née Lawhorn) and William Hugh Burgin, a construction engineer.[1] "Bill Bergen," as he was later known, had singing talent and appeared with his daughter in several episodes of her 18-episode NBC comedy/variety show, The Polly Bergen Show, which aired in the 1957-1958 television season.

In 1965, Bergen created the Polly Bergen Company cosmetics line. She has also created lines of jewelry and shoe brands, and has authored three books on beauty.

Bergen converted to Judaism[2] after having married Hollywood talent agent Freddie Fields, with whom she had two adopted children, Pamela Kerry Fields and Peter William Fields. She had previously been a Southern Baptist.[3]

When not working, Bergen lives at her home in Connecticut.

Bergen's niece is television producer Wendy Riche.[4]

Filmography[edit]

Film and Television credits
YearTitleRoleNotes
1949ChampionSinger
Across the Rio GrandeSinger
1950The MenSinger
At War with the ArmyHelen Palmer
1951That's My BoyBetty 'Babs' Hunter
WarpathMolly Quade
1952The StoogeMary Turner
1953Cry of the HuntedJanet Tunner
Fast CompanyCarol Maldon
ArenaRuth Danvers
Escape from Fort BravoAlice Owens
1954The Blue AngelHerself-Host
1954-1955The Pepsi-Cola PlayhouseHerself-Host
1957The Helen Morgan StoryHelen MorganPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1957–1958The Polly Bergen ShowHerself18 episodes
1956–1961To Tell the TruthHerself
1961Alfred Hitchcock PresentsCrystal CoeEpisode: You Can't Trust a Man
1962Cape FearPeggy Bowden
Belle SommersBelle Sommers
What's My LineHerselfJanuary 28, 1962
1963The CaretakersNominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance

Move Over, DarlingBianca Steele
1964Kisses for My PresidentU.S. President Leslie Harrison McCloud
1967A Guide for the Married ManTechnical Adviser (Clara Brown)cameo
1974Death CruiseSylvia Carter
1975Murder on Flight 502Mona Briarly
1976–1977Not for Women OnlyHerself-Host
1977Harold Robbins' 79 Park AvenueVera KepplerTV miniseries
TelethonDorothy Goodwin
1978How to Pick Up Girls!Dana Greenberg
1981The Million Dollar FaceJo Burns
1982Born BeautifulMarion Carmody
The Love BoatDana Pierce3 episodes
1983The Winds of WarRhoda HenryTV miniseries

Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

1984Fantasy IslandEsther BrandellEpisode: Lady of the House/Mrs. Brandell's Favorites
VelvetMrs. Vance
1985HotelElizabeth HastingsEpisode: Images
Murder, She WroteDr. Jocelyn LairdEpisode: School for Scandal
1987Making Mr. RightEstelle Stone
1988Addicted to His LoveVivien Langford
She Was Marked for MurderLaura Lee Webster
1988-1989War and RemembranceRhoda HenryTV miniseries

Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

1989Mother, MotherBarbara Cutler
The Haunting of Sarah HardyEmily Stepford
My Brother's WifeMyra Gilbert
1990Cry-BabyMrs. Vernon-Williams
Steel MagnoliasClairee BelcherTV pilot
1991Lightning FieldCarol
1992Lady Against the OddsCleo Storrs
1991-1992Baby TalkDoris Campbell23 episodes
1993Arly HanksRuby Bee
1995Dr. Jekyll and Ms. HydeMrs. Unterveldt
The SurrogateSandy Gilman
Once Upon a Time... When We Were ColoredMiss Maybry
1996In the Blink of an EyeMurial
For HopeMolly Altman
1998Touched by an AngelStellaEpisode: Deconstructing Harry
2004The SopranosFran FelsteinEpisode: In Camelot
2005Paradise, TexasBeverly Cameron
2006A Very Serious PersonMrs. A
Candles on Bay StreetRosemary
2005-2006Commander in ChiefKate Allen10 episodes
2007-2011Desperate HousewivesStella Wingfield10 episodes

Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

2012Struck by LightningGrandma

Discography[edit]

[5]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]