Polly Bergen

as Herself in the movie A Conversation with Polly Bergen

My own actors library
Real name is Burgin, Nellie Paulina
Was born at 14 July 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA . Died at 20 September 2014, Southbury, Connecticut, USA (natural causes)

In a six-decade-plus career (she started out as a radio performer at age14), there are very few facets of entertainment that lovelysinger/actress Polly Bergen has not conquered or, at the very least,touched upon. A nightclub and Columbia recording artist of the 50s and60s, she is just as well known for her film and Emmy-winning dramaticperformances as she is for her wry comedic gifts. In the leaner times,she has maintained quite well with her various businesses. Truly onefor the ages, Polly has, at age 70+, nabbed a Tony nomination for hergutsy "I'm Still Here" entertainer Carlotta in'Stephen Sondheim' 's "Follies", and is still dishing out the barbsas she recently demonstrated as 'Felicity Huffman' 's earthy mom on "Desperate Housewives" (2004) .

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee as Nellie Burgin on July 14, 1930, herfamily, which included father William, mother Lucy and sister Barbra,eventually moved to Los Angeles. By the time she was 14, Polly wassinging professionally on radio and managed to scrape up singing gigswith smaller bands around and about the Southern California area. Sheattended Compton Junior College before Paramount mogul'Hal B. Wallis' caught sight of her and signed her up with hisstudio. Having made an isolated film debut (as Polly Burgin) a yearearlier in the Monogram western Across the Rio Grande (1949) ,Wallis showcased her as a decorative love interest in the slapstickvehicles of 'Dean Martin (I)' and 'Jerry Lewis (I)' , the(then) hottest comedy team in Hollywood.

But At War with the Army (1950) , That's My Boy (1951) and The Stooge (1951) did little for Polly although she presentedherself well. MGM and Universal had the idea to cast her in a moreserious vein with co-starring roles in their dramas Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) , Arena (1953) and Cry of the Hunted (1953) , but again she was overlooked. Disasppointed, she decided to abandon her lucrative film contract andseek work elsewhere. That "elsewhere" came in the form of 1950s TV. Focusing on her singing,she promoted her many albums for Columbia by guest-starring on all thetop variety shows of the times.

This culminated in her own varietyprogram, "The Polly Bergen Show" (1957) . The song "The Party'sOver" became her traditional show-closer and signature tune. Polly alsoshowed some marquee mettle on the cabaret and nightclub circuits,performing at many of the top hotels and showrooms throughout thecountry. She made her Broadway debut along with 'Harry Belafonte' in "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" in 1953, and went on to appear insuch stage shows as "Top Man" and "Champagne Complex". A delightfullyengaging game show panelist to boot, she took a regular seat on the "To Tell the Truth" (1956) panel for five seasons.

Polly tended to display a looser, down-to-earth personality to inducelaughs but she was also was formidable dramatic player and fashionplate quite capable of radiating great charm, poise and elegance. Forher role as alcoholic torch singer 'Helen Morgan (I)' in thespecial TV showcase "The Helen Morgan Story", she took home the Emmyaward. Unfortunately for Polly, 'Ann Blyth' took on the role ofthe tragic singer in the film version (with 'Gogi Grant' providingthe vocals), in what could have been a significant return to films forher. Instead, Polly had to wait another five years for that to happen. As thewife of 'Gregory Peck' and designated victim of revengefulpsychopath 'Robert Mitchum (I)' in the taut movie thriller Cape Fear (1962) , her film career reignited.

Other opportunitiescame in the form of her distraught mental patient in The Caretakers (1963) , which found her at odds with nurse'Joan Crawford (I)' and doctor 'Robert Stack (I)' ; thesparkling comedy Move Over, Darling (1963) , which placed her ina comedy triangle with "other wife" 'Doris Day (I)' and husband'James Garner (I)' ; and as the first woman Chief Executive of theWhite House in the frothy comedy tidbit Kisses for My President (1964) opposite bemused "FirstGentleman" 'Fred MacMurray' . In what was to be a tinge of deja vu,Polly again saw her movie career dissipate after only a couple ofvehicles. True to form, the indomitable Polly rebounded on TV. A mild string of TV-movies came her way as she matured into the 1970sand 1980s, most notably the acclaimed miniseries "The Winds of War" (1983) , which reunited her with'Robert Mitchum (I)' , this time as his unhappy, alcoholic wife. This, along with her participation in the sequel, "War and Remembrance" (1988) , earned Polly supporting Emmynominations.

In the years to come, she would find herself still indemand displaying her trademark comic grit in such shows as "The Sopranos" (1999) , "Commander in Chief" (2005) and "Desperate Housewives" (2004) . Polly returned to singing in 1999 after nearly a three-decade absence(due to health and vocal issues). Quite huskier in tone, she went on todelight the New York musical stage with stand-out performances in"Follies" (2001), "Cabaret" (2002) and "Camille Claudel" (2007). Pollystill makes nitery appearances and has even put together singingconcert tours on occasion. Polly has authored three best-selling beauty books outside the actingarena and has demonstrated a marked level of acumen in the businessworld.

Founding a mail-order cosmetics business in 1965, she sold it toFaberge eight years later. She also developed her own shoe and jewelrylines. Married (1950-1955) to MGM actor 'Jerome Courtland' during herfirst movie career peak, she later wed topflight agent/producer'Freddie Fields' in 1957, a union that lasted 18 years andproduced two adopted children, Pamela and Peter. A third marriage inthe 1980s also ended in divorce. An assertive voice when it comes towomen's rights and issues, her memoir "Polly's Principles" came out in1974.


There is some small facts about Polly Bergen:
  • Was nominated for Broadway's 2001 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Musical) for a revival of "Follies."
  • She began her career at age 14 as a radio performer.
  • Played the first woman president in the movie Kisses for My President (1964) and played the mother of the first woman president on the TV show "Commander in Chief" (2005)
  • Over the last 40 years, she has undertaken successful business ventures as Polly Bergen Cosmetics, Polly Bergen Jewelry, and Polly Bergen Shoes. She has also been active as part-owner of and pitch person for Oil-of-the-Turtle cosmetics.
  • Ex-sister-in-law of 'Shep Fields (I)' .
  • Children with 'Freddie Fields' : Pamela Fields and Peter Fields.
  • Copping an Emmy Award for playing torch singer 'Helen Morgan (I)' on TV in 1957, she subsequently recorded an album of Morgan's popular songs.
  • Converted from Southern Baptist (her grandfather was a minister) to Judaism after marrying Hollywood talent agent 'Freddie Fields' , by whom she had one biological child and two adopted children.
  • For 30 years, from 1969 to 1999, the husky-voiced Bergen did a lot of showing up for work without singing a note. Excessive smoking and respiratory problems were the primary causes.
  • Had to leave the 2007 musical "Camille Claudel" (due) following minor surgery. She was replaced by 'Joan Copeland (I)' .
  • Grandmother of actress 'Natalie Lander (I)' .
  • Aunt of 'Wendy Riche' .
  • Mother-in-law of 'David L. Lander' .
  • Ex-stepmother of 'Kathy Fields' .
  • Was a Girl Scout.
  • (1974) Release of her memoirs, "Polly's Principles".
  • As of March, 2002, Ms. Bergen is playing Fraulein Schneider in the long running Broadway Revival of "Cabaret" at Studio 54 in New York City.
  • (November 2005) Joined the cast of "Commander in Chief" (2005) as the President's mother.
  • (May 2007) Guest starring as "Lynette Scavo"'s mother ('Felicity Huffman' 's character) in the season finale of "Desperate Housewives" (2004) .
  • (April 2008) In the spring of 2008, she played the role of "Madame Armfeldt" in 'Stephen Sondheim' 's "A Little Night Music" at Baltimore's Center Stage -- to standing ovations.
  • (October 2006) When not working, she lives quietly amongst her Hollywood pals in the hills of Litchfield County, Connecticut.
  • The memorial service (though not the funeral service) for Brandon Lee was held at her home.
  • Polly Bergen's survivors include daughter P.K. Fields and son Peter Fields, the children she adopted with her second husband; stepdaughter Kathy Fields Lander; and three grandchildren.
  • Bergen's personal life, over the years, was not as smooth as her career. Her four-year marriage to actor Jerome Courtland ended in an acrimonious divorce in 1955. Her second marriage was to super-agent and producer Freddie Fields -- they divorced in 1975 after 18 years. In 1982 she married entrepreneur Jeff Endervelt. She co-signed his loans and gave him millions to invest from her beauty company profits. She said in a 2001 New York Times interview: "He would come home and say, 'Honey, sign this.' I wouldn't even look at it. Because you trust your husband." The stock market crash of the 1980s wiped out the investments. She divorced him in 1991, and she said he left her with so many debts she had to sell her New York apartment and other belongings to avoid bankruptcy.
  • Bergen also was an ardent feminist, campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment and women's reproductive rights. She spoke publicly about having had an illegal abortion when she was a 17 year-old band singer -- a procedure that she said prevented her from bearing children for the rest of her life.
  • In the early 1960s, Bergen formed a cosmetics firm that marketed beauty preparations made from "the oil of the turtle." In 1973, Bergen sold the cosmetic company to FabĂ©rge.
  • Rex Reed, film and theater critic for the New York Observer and a close friend of Bergen's for over 50 years, called Bergen a legendary "A-list, New York Oscar party host." In an interview, he recalled watching the Oscar show while sitting on Bergen's Park Avenue apartment's bed between Paul Newman and Lucille Ball.
  • Pollly Bergen, an outspoken actress who also gained acclaim as a nightclub singer, a cosmetics entrepreneur and a ubiquitous quiz-show panelist, did not start out as an overnight smash. Bergen was 20 and already an established singer when she starred in her first Hollywood feature film -- a Dean Martin-and-Jerry Lewis comedy called "At War With the Army" -- that was released by Paramount Pictures in 1951. Los Angeles Times reviewer Philip K. Scheuer allowed that there might be hope for the attractive but inexperienced newcomer. "Miss Bergen looks like a nice person and her voice is pretty good, but she doesn't know how to face a camera," Scheuer wrote. "Give her time. She's new." She joined Martin and Lewis in two more Paramount film comedies, "That's My Boy" and "The Stooge." In 1953, she made her Broadway debut with Harry Belafonte in the revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac." From 1956-1961 she became a regular panelist on the popular New York based CBS Mark Goodson - Bill Todman produced television game show "To Tell the Truth" with Bud Collyer, Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston. In 1958, seven years after her first Hollywood feature film with Martin and Lewis, Bergen won a best-actress EMMY for her compelling CBS' William S. Paley's Television anthology series "Playhouse 90" in her portrayal of Helen Morgan, the troubled torch singer of the 1920s and '30s. In 1964's "Kisses for My President," Bergen was cast as the first female U.S. President, with Fred MacMurray as First Gentleman. In the end, the president quits when she gets pregnant. Most importantly in the Dan Curtis Productions' ABC Television 1983 seven episodic mini-series "The Winds of War," and the 1988 sequel, Bergen was nominated for another EMMY in 1989 for best supporting actress in a network television mini-series or special for Dan Curtis Productions' ABC Television "War and Remembrance." She appeared as the troubled wife of high-ranking Navy officer Pug Henry, played by Robert Mitchum. Mitchum also had the key role in the original 1962 landmark Universal-MCA feature suspense film, "Cape Fear," as the sadistic ex-convict who terrorizes a lawyer (Gregory Peck) and his wife (Bergen) and daughter because he blames Peck for sending him to prison.
  • Hard-hit by the financial crisis of 1987, Bergen sold her 4,000-square-foot Park Avenue apartment, appeared in a few television movies, and moved to Montana for a few years. "I just couldn't bear the humiliation of what I was doing," she told the New York Times. "I just can't stand in these lines with 35 actresses who've each got 63 million miles of film, waiting to audition for some idiot who's 12 years old." Bergen later returned to singing, working with a vocal coach to freshen her skills. In 1999, Bergen performed at a Miami Beach benefit performance of Stephen Sondheim's "Company." The audience loved her. "They were like, 'Is she still alive?'" she said. "It felt like I'd never been gone, but I knew I could get better." At 70, Bergen was back on Broadway, nominated for a Tony award in Sondheim's "Follies." Her hit song was "I'm Still Here": Good times and bad times -- I've seen them all. And, my dear: I'm still here......
  • Born in Knoxville, Tennessee on July 14, 1930, Nellie Paulina Burgin remembered being wowed by the films of Shirley Temple and Deanna Durbin -- especially one where Durbin shot to fame after a producer overheard her singing in her kitchen. "I would stand in my kitchen and sing my life out waiting for someone to show up -- if not today, then tomorrow," Bergin told the Hartford Courant in 2013. At 14, Berben played her first professional gig with her guitar-strumming father on a radio station in Richmond, Indinana. Early in her career, she tried hard to "discard the hillbilly label that had been attached to her," The Times said in 1952, noting her debut at "the plush Maisonette Room in the St. Regis Hotel, New York City, where the ring-side is a veritable sea of mink and ermine." In the 1950s, Bergen also was a regular in Las Vegas, singing standards like "The Party's Over" for as much as $50,000.00 a week to an audience of high rollers and what she called "mob guys." One mobster and his girl-friend befriended her, she later said, and made sure she sent most of her money home to her parents. "There was nobody in the world who knew good from bad better than they did," she explained. At around the same time, Bergen started a lengthy run on the quiz shows, primarily "To Tell the Truth." In her mid 30s, she started experiencing voice problems and for years abandoned singing.
  • Polly Bergen died at her home in Southbury, Connecticut at 84 years of age. Her death was from natural causes. Bergen had a history of emphysema and circulatory problems that she attributed to 50 years of smoking. "I had a choice of quitting smoking or singing another chorus of 'Night and Day,' and I chose to continue smoking and quit singing," she told Charles Osgood on CBS News in 2001. "And it was a decision that I regretted from that day forward." But she worked as a character actor well into her older years, appearing as the mistress of Tony Soprano's father on "The Sopranos" and as the mother of Felicity Huffman's character on "Desperate Housewives." "She was a great broad, as they said in the vernacular of her day, a wonderful actress and a lovely woman," Huffman related. "I will miss her fire, her courage and her irreverence". For a woman born in Tennessee and who grew up in Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere as her father traveled between low-paying construction jobs, Bergen radiated urban sophistication.
  • In 1964, Bergen starred with Fred MacMurray in "Kisses for My President," a film premised, incredibly for the first woman becoming president. It wasn't quite an anthem to feminism, though: "Is America prepared?" the posters asked. "What happens to her poor husband when he becomes the First Lady?". In 2008, Bergen campaigned door-to-door for Hilary Rodham Clinton, when the former first lady ran for president. "She always thought a woman president in real life was long overdue," said her longtime manager, Jan McCormack. When Geena Davis as MacKenzie Allen becomes the first woman American president after she ascends to the job following the death of president Teddy Bridges. portrayed a first woman president in the 2005-2006 ABC television drama series "Commander in Chief." Polly Bergen was cast as Geena Davis' MacKenzie Allen's mother.
  • The day after she appeared as the lead in the TV production of the Helen Morgan story, the headline of the TV review column in the NY Herald Tribune was "Pepsi girl takes up hard liquor".
Also look some video clip about Polly Bergen:
There is the list of movies, where Polly Bergen was taked part:
1 A Conversation with Polly Bergen movie A Conversation with Polly Bergen 2007 as Herself
2 Bing Crosbys White Christmas USO All Star Show movie Bing Crosbys White Christmas USO All Star Show 1958 as Herself
3 Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde movie Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde 1995 as Mrs. Unterveldt
4 Half a Hero movie Half a Hero 1953 as Herself - Guest Appearance
5 Kisses for My President movie Kisses for My President 1964 as Leslie McCloud
6 Max Liebman Presents: The Maurice Chevalier Show movie Max Liebman Presents: The Maurice Chevalier Show 1956 as Herself
7 Move Over, Darling movie Move Over, Darling 1963 as Bianca Steele Arden
8 The Making of War & Remembrance movie The Making of War & Remembrance 2004 as Herself
9 The Princess Grace Foundation Special Gala Tribute to Cary Grant movie The Princess Grace Foundation Special Gala Tribute to Cary Grant 1988 as Herself
10 Arthur Godfrey and His Friends movie Arthur Godfrey and His Friends 1949 as Herself
11 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre movie Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre 1963 as Jennifer Randolph
12 Dr. Kildare movie Dr. Kildare 1961 as Janice Graham/Cathy Brandon
13 One on One with John Tesh movie One on One with John Tesh 1991 as Herself - Guest
14 The Bell Telephone Hour movie The Bell Telephone Hour 1959 as Herself - Host
15 The Chuck Woolery Show movie The Chuck Woolery Show 1991 as Herself - Guest
16 The Colgate Comedy Hour movie The Colgate Comedy Hour 1950 as Herself - Actress
17 The Joey Bishop Show movie The Joey Bishop Show 1967 as Herself - Guest Host
18 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse movie The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse 1953 as Host (1954-1955)
19 The Polly Bergen Show movie The Polly Bergen Show 1957 as Herself - Hostess
20 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson movie The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1962 as Herself - Guest
21 Whats My Line? movie Whats My Line? 1950 as Herself - Mystery Guest
22 A Guide for the Married Man movie A Guide for the Married Man 1967 as Technical Adviser (Clara Brown)
23 A Very Serious Person movie A Very Serious Person 2006 as Mrs. A
24 Across the Rio Grande movie Across the Rio Grande 1949 as Cantina Singer
25 Addicted to His Love movie Addicted to His Love 1988 as Vivien Langford
26 Arena movie Arena 1953 as Ruth Danvers
27 Arly Hanks movie Arly Hanks 1993 as Ruby Bee
28 At War with the Army movie At War with the Army 1950 as Helen Palmer
29 Atlantic City Holiday movie Atlantic City Holiday 1956 as Herself
30 Belle Sommers movie Belle Sommers 1962 as Belle Sommers
31 Born Beautiful movie Born Beautiful 1982 as Marion Carmody
32 Candles on Bay Street movie Candles on Bay Street 2006 as Rosemary
33 Cape Fear movie Cape Fear 1962 as Peggy Bowden
34 Champion movie Champion 1949 as Radio and Jukebox Singer
35 Cry of the Hunted movie Cry of the Hunted 1953 as Janet Tunner
36 Cry-Baby movie Cry-Baby 1990 as Mrs. Vernon-Williams
37 Death Cruise movie Death Cruise 1974 as Sylvia Carter
38 Desperate Housewives Special: Secrets and Lies movie Desperate Housewives Special: Secrets and Lies 2007 as Stella Wingfield
39 Doris & Marty movie Doris & Marty 2007 as Herself
40 Doris Days Best Friends movie Doris Days Best Friends 2007 as Herself
The image of Burgin, Nellie Paulina was on the covers of these magazines:
  • "TV Guide" (USA), 14 September 1957
There is the list of some quotes of Polly Bergen:
  • I'm one of those people who always needs a mountain to climb. When I get up a mountain as far as I think I'm going to get, I try to find another mountain.
  • 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.
  • On the loss of Elaine Kaufman: Every year, Elaine would come to my house for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. She would stand in line with everyone else, because I always had so many people over. It was a great for me, as I got to feed her, because she was always the one feeding me.
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