Polly Bergen

Submitted by on Sep 2, 2015

Polly Bergen dead: Desperate Housewives and Sopranos actress dies aged 84

Bergen was also a singer and starred alongside Hollywood icons like Gregory Peck, Dean Martin and Johnny Depp

Actress Polly Bergen of the film 'Struck by Lightning' visits the Tribeca Film Festival 2012 portrait studio at the Cadillac Tribeca Press Lounge on April 21, 2012 in New York City

Actress and singer Polly Bergen, who appeared in Desperate Housewives and The Sopranos, has died aged 84.

Bergen was perhaps best known for her role in the original version of Cape Fear opposite Gregory Pec k but had a late career resurgence in the smash hit American TV shows.


Legend Passes: Polly Bergen is pictured here in a scene from Desperate Housewives (C) with Dallas actor Larry Hagman (L) and Felicity Huffman (R)

She died at her home in Connecticut, USA, today, having battled emphysema in the late 1990s.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary actress and long-time friend and client, Polly Bergen," her publicist Judy Katz said in a statement.

"She died peacefully at her home in Southbury, Conn. this morning at 11.10am, surrounded by her family, long-time personal manager, Jan McCormack and close friends."


Passed Away: Dean Martin and Polly Bergen in publicity shots for the 1951 motion picture That’s My Boy

Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as Helen Morgan on the 1950s anthology series Playhouse 90.

She was a regular in TV movies and miniseries in the 1980s, most notably in the 1983 epic The Winds of War and the 1988 sequel, War and Remembrance, for which she was nominated for a best supporting actress Emmy in 1989.


Biggest Role: Bergen also starred in the 1962 original of Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck

She was also the star of her own short-lived NBC variety series The Polly Bergen Show, which ran from 1957 to 1958.

She starred opposite Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in her first movie, At War With the Army. She later joined them in two more comedies, That’s My Boy and The Stooge.

Bergen was cast as the first female US president in 1964’s Kisses for My President. Among her other films was Move Over, Darling in 1963 with Doris Day and James Garner, Susan Seidelman’s 1987 Making Mr. Right, and John Waters’ 1990 Cry-Baby, with Johnny Depp.

Most recently, she played Felicity Huffman’s mother on Desperate Housewives and the mistress of Tony Soprano’s late father on The Sopranos. In the video below you can see her in a scene with the late James Gandolfini .

Sopranos Scene: Bergen appeared in this scene with the late James Gandolfini

The multi-hyphenate star was also a prolific singer and theater star. She released nearly a dozen albums throughout her career.

Bergen made her Broadway debut in the revue "John Murray Anderson’s Almanac" and received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Carlotta Campion in Follies in 2001.

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