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Kelly Bishop

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Also Known As: Carole Bishop Died:
Born: February 28, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A highly talented performer of musical theater who has made some inroads moving into character roles in straight comedy and drama, Kelly Bishop is one of those performers whose abilities are heralded by show business insiders, but whose star does not glisten as much as it should. A "gypsy" (chorus dancer) from her teen years, she is best recalled by theatergoers for her Tony-winning performance as Sheila, the aging, sarcastic hoofer, in the original Broadway company of "A Chorus Line" (1975). In films, Bishop may be remembered as Jill Clayburgh's best friend and confidante in "An Unmarried Woman" (1978) and as the mother of Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing" (1987). Born Carole Bishop, a name she used professionally until the mid-70s, she was only 18 when she joined the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall. By 1968, Bishop was in the Broadway chorus of "Golden Rainbow" and later that year worked for choreographer Michael Bennett in the award-winning "Promises, Promises". She toured with Debbie Reynolds and Ruth Warrick in "Irene" (1974) before Bennett's "A Chorus Line" raised her profile. But despite the accolades and acclaim, Bishop remained a working dancer-actor. She began to move to straight...

A highly talented performer of musical theater who has made some inroads moving into character roles in straight comedy and drama, Kelly Bishop is one of those performers whose abilities are heralded by show business insiders, but whose star does not glisten as much as it should. A "gypsy" (chorus dancer) from her teen years, she is best recalled by theatergoers for her Tony-winning performance as Sheila, the aging, sarcastic hoofer, in the original Broadway company of "A Chorus Line" (1975). In films, Bishop may be remembered as Jill Clayburgh's best friend and confidante in "An Unmarried Woman" (1978) and as the mother of Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing" (1987).

Born Carole Bishop, a name she used professionally until the mid-70s, she was only 18 when she joined the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall. By 1968, Bishop was in the Broadway chorus of "Golden Rainbow" and later that year worked for choreographer Michael Bennett in the award-winning "Promises, Promises". She toured with Debbie Reynolds and Ruth Warrick in "Irene" (1974) before Bennett's "A Chorus Line" raised her profile. But despite the accolades and acclaim, Bishop remained a working dancer-actor. She began to move to straight plays eventually appearing in "Vanities" (1978) and was stand-by for Stockard Channing in "Six Degrees of Separation" (1990), eventually succeeding her in the leading role of Ouisa Kittredge. More recently, Bishop was the diner owner in the Broadway revival of "Bus Stop" (1996) and co-starred in Neil Simon's short-lived "Proposals" (1997).

As Bishop moved to dramatic and comic roles, she attempted to carve a niche in TV, but she underwent a frustrating sojourn in Hollywood in which she played Dee Dee, the daughter of the Devil, in the short-lived sitcom "A Year at the Top" (CBS, 1977), and was cast asunder when the show failed. She gathered her wits and returned to New York, now slightly heavier and more of a character player. But Hollywood still didn't get her, often casting her as patient wives, overbearing mothers, cry-on-my-shoulder friends and co-workers. Not one to turn down any work, she moved readily between primetime (playing gal Friday to Miss Lonelyhearts writer Cloris Leachman in the 1981 NBC TV-movie "Advice to the Lovelorn") to features ("O'Hara's Wife" 1982) to daytime television (most notably, "As the World Turns"). Bishop tried sitcoms again when Mike Nichols cast her as Tony Roberts' status-loving spouse in the short-lived "The Thorns" (ABC, 1988). She delivered a memorable guest appearance as the left-wing mother to Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) in a 1992 episode of "Murphy Brown" and was Lisa Ann Walter's mother on the short-lived "My Wildest Dreams" (Fox, 1995). Bishop had supporting parts in "Queens Logic" (1991) and "Six Degrees of Separation" (1993) and had one of her best screen roles as Paul Mazursky's mistress in "Miami Rhapsody" (1995). More recently, she garnered attention as Ray Stern, mother of radio shock jock Howard Stern, in the autobiographical "Private Parts" (1997).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Wonder Boys (2000) Amanda Leer
2.
 Private Parts (1997) Ray Stern
3.
 Wedding Band, The (1997) Sylvia Weinstein
4.
 Cafe Society (1996) Mrs Jelke
5.
 Miami Rhapsody (1995) Zelda
6.
 Six Degrees Of Separation (1993) Adele
7.
 Queens Logic (1991)
8.
 Me and Him (1989) Mrs Karamis
9.
 Dirty Dancing (1987) Marjorie Houseman
10.
 O'Hara's Wife (1982) Beth Douglas
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1962:
Billed as Carole Bishop, made stage debut in corps de ballet of Radio City Music Hall
1968:
Broadway debut in "Golden Rainbow"
1975:
Won acclaim as the tart-tongued, aging hoofer Sheila in original production of "A Chorus Line"; changed billing from Carole Bishop to Kelly Bishop during the early run of the show
1977:
Co-starred in the short-lived TV series, "A Year at the Top" (CBS)
1978:
Feature acting debut, "An Unmarried Woman"
:
Played regular role of Grace on the CBS drama serial "As the World Turns"
1987:
Played mother to Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing"
1988:
Portrayed Ginger Thorn in the short-lived ABC sitcom "The Thorns"
1989:
Had recurring role on the ABC soap opera "One Life to Live"
:
Played the leading role of Ouisa Kittredge in the Braodway production of "Six Degrees of Separation"; originally understudied Stockard Channing
1992:
Played mother to Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) in memorable episode of "Murphy Brown" (CBS)
1993:
Had supporting role in the film version of "Six Degrees of Separation"
1995:
Was regular on series "My Wildest Dreams" (Fox)
1995:
Co-starred as the mistress of Paul Mazursky's Vic Marcus in "Miami Rhapsody"
1996:
Cast as a doctor on the ABC soap "One Life to Live"
1996:
Had featured role of Grace in the revival of "Bus Stop", starring Mary-Louise Parker and Billy Crudup
1997:
Played mother to Howard Stern in "Private Parts"
1997:
Returned to Broadway in the short-lived Neil Simon play "Proposals"
1998:
Replaced Carole Shelley (who in turn had replaced Dana Ivey) in the Tony-winning play "The Last Night of Ballyhoo"
2000:
Had regular role as the mother and grandmother of the titular "Gilmore Girls" (The WB)
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Education

San Jose Ballet School: San Jose , California -
American Ballet Theatre School: New York , New York -

Notes

"I'm delighted to be working, because there's so little opportunity now fot a lot of really talented, middle-aged women. I've been performing for 35 years, and there's nothing quite as special as walking in the stage door of a Broadway house, knowing that's where you're going to work." --Kelly Bishop to In Theater, November 14, 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Peter Miller. Divorced.
husband:
Lee Leonard. TV talk show host, anchor.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lawrence Boden Bishop.
mother:
Jane Lenore Bishop.

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