Bergen, Polly 1930–

views updated

Bergen, Polly 1930–

(Polly Burgin)


Original name, Nellie Paulina Burgin; born July 14, 1930, in Knoxville, TN; daughter of William Hugh (a construction engineer) and Lucy (maiden name, Lawhorn) Burgin; married Jerome Courtland (an actor, director, and producer), 1949 (divorced, 1955); married Freddie Fields (an agent and motion picture company executive), February 13, 1957 (divorced, 1975); married Jeffrey Endervelt, June 25, 1982 (divorced, 1990); children: (second marriage) Pamela K. Fields, Peter Fields; (stepdaughter) Kathy. Education: Attended Compton Junior College. Religion: Jewish.


Agent—TalentWorks, 3500 West Olive Ave., Suite 1400, Burbank, CA 91505.


Actress, singer, writer, producer, and business executive. Began career at age fourteen as a radio performer; as a teenager, appeared with small bands in and around Los Angeles; appeared in cabaret performances at the Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, and the Persian Room, Plaza Hotel, New York City. Also appeared in cabaret performances in Atlantic City, NJ, Lake Tahoe, CA, and the Coconut Club, Beverly Hills, CA; Polly Bergen Productions, Inc., president; Martha Graham Dance Center, former member of the board of directors. Polly Bergen Co. (cosmetics company; later a subsidiary of Faberge), chairperson of the board of directors, beginning in 1965; Polly Bergen Shoes, president; Polly Bergen Jewelry, founder; Culinary Co., Inc., chairperson; Singer Co., past member of the board of directors. Hollywood Women's Political Committee, member; Show Coalition, member of the board of directors; National Business Council for the Equal Rights Movement, chairperson (with others); United Service Organizations, member of the board of directors; U.S. Savings Bonds Campaign, national chairperson, 1970; Children's Asthmatic Research Institute and Hospital, national spokesperson; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, executive vice president of the Women's Guild; National Cancer Foundation, honorary canister campaign chairperson for Cancer Care; National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, member of the national advisory board; California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, member of the board of directors.


Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Guild of Variety Artists, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, American Civil Liberties Union, National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (member of the board of advocates).

Awards, Honors:

Troupers Award, Sterling Publications, 1957; Fame Top Ten Award, 1957-58; Emmy Award, outstanding single performance by an actress, 1958, for "The Helen Morgan Story," Playhouse 90; Editors and Critics Award, Radio and Television Daily, 1958; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actress—drama, 1964, for The Caretakers; Costume Designers Guild Award, best dressed American woman entertainer, 1966; Golden Plate, American Academy of Achievement, 1969; Children's Asthmatic Research Institute and Hospital, cardio-pulmonary research laboratory named in her honor, 1970, Humanitarian Award, 1971; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or special, 1983, for The Winds of War; Outstanding Mother Award, National Mother's Day Committee, 1984; award for best achievement in new jewelry design, 1986; Cancer Care Award, 1989; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or special, 1989, for War and Remembrance; Woman of Achievement Award, League of Women Voters, 1990; Extraordinary Achievement Award, National Women's Law Center, 1991; Freedom of Choice Award, California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, 1992; Back Stage Bistro Award, 2001, for Sing One, Act Two; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best featured actress in a musical, Drama Desk Award nomination, outstanding featured actress in a musical, 2001, both for Follies; Outstanding Working Woman Award, Downtown St. Louis, Inc.


Stage Appearances:

Member of the ensemble, John Murray Anderson's Almanac, Imperial Theatre, New York City, 1953.

Allyn Macy, Champagne Complex, Cort Theatre, New York City, 1955.

Elizabeth Bennett, First Impressions, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1959.

Melissa Gardner, Love Letters, Edison Theatre, New York City, then San Francisco, CA, 1990.

The Women (staged reading; benefit performance), Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, c. 1999.

Sing One, Act Two (cabaret performance), Feinstein's at the Regency, New York City, 2000.

"The Songs of Comden and Green" (tribute), Lyrics and Lyricists, Theatre at the 92nd Street Y, New York City, 2000.

Carlotta Campion, Follies, Roundabout Theatre, New York City, 2000, then Belasco Theatre, New York City, 2001.

Nothing Like a Dame (benefit performance), Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 2001.

Fraulein Schneider, Cabaret, Studio 54, New York City, 2002.

Lily Harrison, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Belasco Theatre, New York City, 2003.

Also appeared as Joanne in a South Beach benefit performance of Company.

Film Appearances:

(As Polly Burgin) Cantina singer, Across the Rio Grande, 1949.

(Uncredited) Voice of radio and jukebox singer, Champion, 1949.

Helen Palmer, At War with the Army, Paramount, 1950.

Betty Hunter, That's My Boy, Paramount, 1951.

Molly Quade, Warpath, Paramount, 1951.

Mary Turner, The Stooge, Paramount, 1952.

Alice Owens, Escape from Fort Bravo (also known as Fort Bravo), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Carol Maldon, Fast Company, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Janet Tunner, Cry of the Hunted, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Ruth Danvers, Arena, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Half a Hero, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Peggy Bowden, Cape Fear, Universal, 1962.

Bianca Steele Arden, Move Over, Darling, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1963.

Lorna Melford, The Caretakers (also known as Borderlines), United Artists, 1963.

Leslie McCloud, Kisses for My President (also known as Kisses for the President), Warner Bros., 1964.

Technical advisor, A Guide for the Married Man, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1967.

Sotto a chi tocca! (also known as Besos para ella, punetazos para todos and Vier froehliche Rabauken), 1972.

Estelle Stone, Making Mr. Right, Orion, 1987.

Barbara Cutler, Mother, Mother, 1989.

Mrs. Vernon-Williams, Cry-Baby, Universal, 1990.

Mrs. Unterveldt, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Savoy Pictures, 1995.

Miss Maybry, Once Upon a TimeWhen We Were Colored, Republic Pictures, 1996.

Herself, The Making of "War & Remembrance" (short), MPI Home Video, 2004.

Herself, "War & Remembrance": Behind the Scenes (short), MPI Home Video, 2004.

Beverly Cameron, Paradise, Texas, 2005.

Mrs. A, A Very Serious Person, Wolfe Video, 2006.

Herself, Doris & Marty (documentary short), Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment, 2007.

Herself, A Conversation with Polly Bergen (documentary short), Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment, 2007.

Herself, Doris Day's Best Friends (documentary short), Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment, 2007.

Television Appearances; Series:

The Alan Young Show, CBS, 1950-53.

Host, The Best in Mystery, NBC, 1954.

Vocalist, The Blue Angel, CBS, 1954.

Host, Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, ABC, 1954-55.

Guest host, Upbeat, CBS, 1955.

Panelist, To Tell the Truth, CBS, 1956-61.

Host, The Polly Bergen Show, NBC, 1957-58.

Panelist, To Tell the Truth, 1969.

Hostess, Not for Women Only, 1976-77.

Doris Campbell, Baby Talk (also known as Look Who's Talking), ABC, 1991.

Kate Allen, Commander in Chief, ABC, 2005-2006.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Vera Keppler, 79 Park Avenue (also known as Harold Robbins "79 Park Avenue"), NBC, 1977.

Rhoda Henry, The Winds of War, ABC, 1983.

Rhoda Henry, War and Remembrance, 1988.

Rhoda Henry, War and Remembrance: The Final Chapter, ABC, 1989.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Title role, Belle Sommers, 1962.

Suzy Hunter, An Echo of Theresa, ABC, 1973.

Sylvia Carter, Death Cruise, ABC, 1974.

Mona Briarly, Murder on Flight 502, ABC, 1975.

Dorothy Goodwin, Telethon, ABC, 1977.

Dana Greenberg, How to Pick Up Girls!, ABC, 1978.

Marion Carmody, Born Beautiful, NBC, 1982.

The Fall of the House of Usher, NBC, 1982.

Laura Lee Webster, She Was Marked for Murder (also known as Deadly Vows and Marked for Murder), NBC, 1988.

Vivien Langford, Addicted to His Love (also known as Sisterhood), ABC, 1988.

Mrs. Thetford, The Haunting of Sarah Hardy, USA Network, 1989.

Myra Gilbert, My Brother's Wife (also known as Just Good Friends and Middle Ages), ABC, 1989.

Carol Bernard, Lightning Field (also known as The Lightning Incident), USA Network, 1991.

Cleo Storrs, Lady Against the Odds (also known as Dol Bonner and Hand in the Glove), NBC, 1992.

Barbara Fox, Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal (also known as Perry Mason: The Case of the Unhappy Birthday), NBC, 1993.

Janet, Leave of Absence, NBC, 1994.

Sandy Gilman, The Surrogate, 1995.

Murial, In the Blink of an Eye, 1996.

Molly, For Hope, ABC, 1997.

Rosemary, Candles on Bay Street, CBS, 2007.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Maurice Chevalier Show (also known as Max Liebman Presents: "The Maurice Chevalier Show"), NBC, 1956.

Atlantic City Holiday, 1956.

Spring Holiday, CBS, 1956.

The Rosalind Russell Show, NBC, 1959.

Presenter, The 13th Annual Tony Awards, 1959.

The Bob Hope Show, NBC, 1960.

The Jack Benny Hour, CBS, 1960.

Host (with others), Just Polly and Me, CBS, 1960.

Presenter, The 33rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1961.

Yves Montand on Broadway, NBC, 1962.

A Special Hour with Dinah Shore, NBC, 1964.

Danny Thomas: America, I Love You, NBC, 1968.

Host, The Polly Bergen Special, syndicated, 1969.

The Polly Bergen Musical Special, 1971.

Host (with others), Not for Women Only, syndicated, 1972.

Li'l Abner in Dogpatch Today, NBC, 1978.

Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star, 1991.

The 55th Annual Tony Awards, CBS and PBS, 2001.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

The Guy Mitchell Show, CBS, 1957.

Jo Burns, The Million Dollar Face (also known as Kiss of Gold), NBC, 1981.

Mrs. Vance, Velvet, ABC, 1984.

Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias, CBS, 1990.

Ruby Bee Hanks, Arly Hanks Mysteries, CBS, 1993.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Colgate Comedy Hour (also known as Colgate Summer Comedy Hour, Colgate Variety Hour, and Michael Todd Revue), 1951.

Songs for Sale, 1951, 1952.

"Autumn in New York," Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars (also known as Herald Playhouse, Schlitz Playhouse, and The Playhouse), CBS, 1952.

"The Haunted Heart," Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars (also known as Herald Playhouse, Schlitz Playhouse, and The Playhouse), CBS, 1952.

"Falling Star," The Elgin TV Hour (also known as The Elgin Hour), ABC, 1954.

"Fatal in My Fashion," Studio One, CBS, 1954.

Toast of the Town (also known as The Ed Sullivan Show), CBS, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1965, 1967.

"Rendezvous in Paris," Appointment with Adventure, CBS, 1955.

"San Francisco Fracas," The Elgin Hour, ABC, 1955.

Frankie Laine Time, 1955.

The Jimmy Durante Show, 1955.

"Foundation," Star Stage, NBC, 1956.

"Letter from the Queen," General Electric Theater (also known as G.E. Theater), CBS, 1956.

"Spring Holiday," Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, CBS, 1956.

The Steve Allen Show (also known as The Steve Allen Plymouth Show), NBC, 1957.

Helen Morgan, "The Helen Morgan Story," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1957.

The Dinah Show Chevy Show (also known as The Dinah Shore Show), 1958.

The Dick Clark Show (also known as The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show), 1958.

"The Best House in the Valley," Lux Playhouse, NBC, 1958.

Mystery guest, What's My Line?, 1958, 1960, 1966.

"The Wonderful World of Entertainment," Startime (also known as Ford Startime and Lincoln-Mercury Startime), 1959.

Singer, "The Music of George Gershwin," The Bell Telephone Hour, NBC, 1959.

Host, "The Music Makers," The Bell Telephone Hour, NBC, 1960.

"Well, What About You?," Startime (also known as Ford Startime and Lincoln-Mercury Startime), 1960.

"The Great Gold Mountain," The United States Steel Hour (also known as The U.S. Steel Hour), CBS, 1960.

Crystal Coe, "You Can't Trust a Man," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1961.

Kitty Albright, "The Kitty Albright Story," Wagon Train (also known as Major Adams, Trail Master), NBC, 1961.

Here's Hollywood, 1961.

"Weavers of Song," The Bell Telephone Hour, NBC, 1962.

Password (also known as Password All-Stars), 1962, 1963.

Janice Graham/Cathy Brandon, "The Dark Side of the Mirror," Dr. Kildare, NBC, 1963.

Paula Miles, "Tissue of Hate," The Dick Powell Show, NBC, 1963.

Just Polly and Me, CBS, 1964.

Jennifer Randolph, "The Loving Cup, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater (also known as The Chrysler Theater and Universal Star Time), NBC, 1965.

The Andy Williams Show, NBC, 1965, 1966.

Hostess, "Gershwin, a Portrait," The Bell Telephone Hour, 1966.

The Dean Martin Show (also known as The Dean Martin Comedy Hour), NBC, 1966, 1967.

The Hollywood Palace, 1966, 1968.

"America, I Love You," The Danny Thomas Hour, 1968.

The Joey Bishop Show, 1969.

The Tonight Show, NBC, 1971.

Dinah's Place, 1971.

Suzy Hunter, "An Echo of Theresa" (also known as "Anatomy of Terror" and "Thriller: An Echo of Theresa"), Thriller, ABC, 1973.

Celebrity Sweepstakes, 1974.

Dina Carroll-Winer, "The Adventure of the Tyrant of Tin Pan Alley," Ellery Queen (also known as The Adventures of Ellery Queen), NBC, 1976.

Maisie, "The Understudy/Married Singles/Lost and Found," Love Boat, ABC, 1977.

"The Spoonmaker Diamond: Parts 1 & 2," Love Boat, ABC, 1982.

Esther Brandell, "Lady of the House," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1984.

Dr. Jocelyn Laird, "School for Scandal," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1985.

Elizabeth Hastings, "Images," Hotel (also known as Arthur Hailey's "Hotel"), ABC, 1985.

Evelyn Taylor, "Joey's Mother-in-Law," My Two Dads, NBC, 1988.

"Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star," Crazy about the Movies, Cinemax, 1991.

Rachel Doucet, "Who Killed the Starlet?," Burke's Law, CBS, 1994.

Stella, "Reconstructing Harry," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1998.

Fran Felstein, "In Camelot," The Sopranos, HBO, 2004.

Stella Wingfield, "Getting Married Today," Desperate Housewives, ABC, 2007.

Stella Wingfield, "Now You Know," Desperate Housewives, ABC, 2007.

Stella Wingfield, "The Game," Desperate Housewives, ABC, 2007.

Also appeared in The Mike Douglas Show, syndicated; The Perry Como Show, CBS; The Red Skelton Show, CBS.

Television Work; Movies:

Co-executive producer and creator, Leave of Absence, NBC, 1994.



Polly Bergen, Jubilee, 1951.

Little Girl Blue, Kem, 1951.

Bergen Sings Morgan, Columbia, 1957.

The Party's Over, Columbia, 1958.

Polly Bergen Sings the Hit Songs from "Do Re Mi" and "Annie Get Your Gun," Columbia, 1958.

(With Bill Bergen) Polly and Her Pop, Columbia, c. 1958.

All Alone by the Telephone, Columbia, 1959.

My Heart Sings, Columbia, 1959.

Pop Hit Party, Volume III, Columbia, 1959.

Polly Bergen's Four Seasons of Love, Columbia, 1960.

Country Girl, Harmony, 1960.

Act One, Sing Two, Phillips, 1963.


Television Movies:

Story, Leave of Absence, NBC, 1994.


The Polly Bergen Book of Beauty, Fashion, and Charm, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1962.

Polly's Principles: Polly Bergen Tells You How You Can Feel and Look as Young As She Does, Peter H. Wyden (New York City), 1974.

(With Kathrin Perutz) I'd Love To, but What'll I Wear?, Wyden Books (New York City), 1977.

About this article

Bergen, Polly 1930–

Updated About content Print Article