Polly Bergen

Polly Bergen

Also known as: Nellie Paulina Burgin


Born: July 14, 1930
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Died: September 20, 2014
Southbury, Connecticut

Obituary: Polly Bergen, Tony nominee and Broadway vet best known publicly for her role in the original "Cape Fear," died Sept. 20, 2014, at her home in Southbury, CT. She was 84.

Bergen was an actress, a recording artist with a soulful, distinctive voice, a Broadway regular, an Emmy winner, author and businesswoman.

She made her Broadway debut in John Murray Anderson's Almanac with Harry Belafonte in 1953. Most recently, on Broadway, she appeared in the 2003 Broadway production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks as Lily Harrison. Before that her Broadway appearances ranged from the 2001 production of Follies, the 1998 production of Cabaret where she played Fraulein Schneider, as well as the 1989 production of Love Letters, currently being revived on Broadway with Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, amongst many others.

She received a Tony nomination in 2001 for her performance as Carlotta Campion in Follies.

Read Polly Bergen's Playbill Vault profile here.

On television, Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as singer Helen Morgan in "Playhouse 90." She was nominated again in 1989 for supporting actress in a miniseries for the special "War and Rememberance." Her television credits range from "Desperate Housewives" to her own musical-variety “The Polly Bergen Show” on NBC, closing every broadcast with her theme song, “The Party's Over.”

Her numerous film credits include the aforementioned 1962 thriller "Cape Fear" to most recently her performance in 2012's "Struck By Lightning" with "Glee" regular Chris Colfer.

Colfer tweeted the following:

Among Bergen's other film credits are "Move Over, Darling" (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner and John Waters' 1990 "Cry-Baby," with Johnny Depp.

As an author and businesswoman, Bergen published the first of her three advice books, “The Polly Bergen Book of Beauty, Fashion and Charm” in 1962. Her success in this realm led to her own lucrative cosmetics company

Bergen passed surrounded by friends and family.



Playbill Cover - Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
Oct. 29, 2003 - Nov. 23, 2003
Lily Harrison Performer
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Follies Follies
Apr. 5, 2001 - Jul. 14, 2001
Carlotta Campion Performer
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Cabaret Cabaret
Mar. 19, 1998 - Jan. 4, 2004
Fraulein Schneider
Mar. 25, 2002 - Sep. 8, 2002
Playbill Cover - Love Letters Love Letters
Oct. 31, 1989 - Jan. 21, 1990
Melissa Gardner Performer
Playbill Cover - First Impressions First Impressions
Mar. 19, 1959 - May 30, 1959
Elizabeth Bennett Performer
Who's Who
Champagne Complex
Apr. 12, 1955 - Apr. 30, 1955
Allyn Macy Performer
Playbill Cover - John Murray Anderson's Almanac John Murray Anderson's Almanac
Dec. 10, 1953 - Jun. 26, 1954
Singer of "I Dare to Dream" Performer
    Singer of "The Earth and the Sky" Performer
    Meg Performer
    Singer of "Fini" Performer

Inside the Playbill (3)

See more Who's Who


Drama Desk Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
2001 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Follies Nominee

Tony Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
2001 Featured Actress in a Musical Follies Nominee
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