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Overview for Kelly Bishop
Kelly Bishop

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: Cast ... actor


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).

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