Vale: Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen, best known for Desperate Housewives, Commander in Chief and Cape Fear, has died.
Her publicist told The New York Times she passed away on Saturday, but the cause of her death was not revealed.
Bergen gravitated from a nightclub career to films in the late 1940s, later appearing in three Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies At War With the Army, That’s My Boy and The Stooge.
She played the first female president in the movie Kisses for My President in 1964. Other films included the original Cape Fear, Move over Darling, Paradise Texas, A Very Serious Person, Struck by Lightning and Cry Baby.
But her screen career was largely comprised of TV roles.
On television she starred in her own variety series, The Polly Bergen Show and won her first and only Emmy for the crime show Playhouse 90 in 1957. She appeared in a string of telemovies and miniseries including Belle Sommers, Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue, Telethon, Born Beautiful, The Million Dollar Face, How to Pick Up Girls!, Velvet, She Was Marked for Murder, Addicted to His Love, My Brother’s Wife, The Haunting of Sarah Hardy, Lady Against the Odds, Lightning Field, Steel Magnolias, The Surrogate, Leave of Absence, Early Bird, and scored Emmy nods for The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.
In 2008, she earned her fourth and final Emmy nomination for her role as the mother of Felicity Huffman’s character in Desperate Housewives. She also played the mother of Geena Davis on Commander in Chief -a nod to her earlier Presidential role.
Other credits include The Sopranos, Murder She Wrote, Hotel, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Ellery Queen, Thriller, Dr. Kildare, Wagon Train and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Bergen also received a Tony Award nomination for Broadway’s 2001 revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, in which she sang ‘I’m Still Here.’
Despite a prolific 6 decade career, Bergen had said, “I don’t want to waste the rest of my life just earning a living. I want to do what’s fulfilling for me. I want to play out my life doing what I enjoy, not just showing up for work.”