Thursday, September 15, 2011
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: POLLY BERGEN
Polly Bergen was born on July 14, 1930. 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. Bergen portrayed the first female President of the United States in the 1964 comedy Kisses for My President, co-starring Fred MacMurray as her "First Gentleman." Later roles included Mrs. Vernon-Williams in Cry-Baby, a 1990 John Waters film.
Bergen received an Emmy award for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan in a May 1957 episode of the television series Playhouse 90 on CBS. Sylvia Sidney played her mother on the episode. Signed to Columbia Records, she also enjoyed a successful recording career during this era.
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. The script initially was in production starring Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin under the name Something's Got to Give, but after Monroe died, Martin declined to begin again with a new leading lady. Bergen took over the role of Bianca, in which Cyd Charisse had originally been cast.
In later years 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. Polly also appeared as Fran Felstein on HBO's The Sopranos, the former mistress of Tony Soprano's father, and former acquaintance of John F. Kennedy.
From 2007 to the present, Bergen has had a guest role in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella Wingfield, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination.
Another of her recent appearances came in CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation Candles on Bay Street (2006), in which she played the assistant to a husband-and-wife team of veterinarians.
Now into her 80s, Polly Bergen can be picky with her roles, and she is - but she enjoys the character roles she has turned to playing. When not working, Bergen lives in Connecticut and enjoys time with her three children and grandchildren...
UPDATE: Sadly Polly Bergen died on September 20, 2014 at the age of 84...
Polly Bergen Obituary