Kay Medford Explained

Kay Medford
Birth Name:Margaret Kathleen O'Regan
Birth Date:September 14, 1914
Birth Place:New York City, New York, U.S.
Death Place:New York City, New York, U.S.
Yearsactive:1942-1980

Kay Medford (September 14, 1914April 10, 1980), was an American character actress and comedienne.

She was born Margaret Kathleen O'Regan[1] in New York City to James and Mary (née Kelly) O'Regan, first-generation Irish-American parents, both of whom had died by the time she was 15 years old. She later adopted the name Kay Medford professionally, and began her career after graduating from high school, also working as a nightclub waitress.

She was the original "Mama" in Bye Bye Birdie, starring opposite Dick Van Dyke on Broadway, garnering excellent reviews, but lost the film role to Maureen Stapleton. Medford appeared in the Warner Bros. rock and roll movie Jamboree (1957) in which she played the manager of singer Pete Porter, played by Paul Carr. Medford made her Broadway debut in 1951 in the musical Paint Your Wagon. She also appeared in Carousel, before appearing onstage in Funny Girl as the mother of Fanny Brice (played by Barbra Streisand); for this performance she was nominated for a 1964 Tony Award for Featured Actress (Musical),[2] and when she repeated the role in the 1968 film adaptation, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[3]

From 1969-70 she co-starred opposite John Forsythe in the CBS television series To Rome With Love. Medford had a leading role on The Dean Martin Show for several years.

Death

Kay Medford never married. She died from cervical cancer in New York City in 1980.

Notes and References

  1. Name of birth as per Medford's file clippings, 3rd floor, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center
  2. Book: Isabelle. Stevenson. Roy A.. Somlyo. Roy Somlyo. The Tony Award. revised. 2001. Heinemann, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 0-325-00294-0. 50.
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0575552/awards Kay Medford IMDb profile