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Kaye Ballard
Kaye Ballard publicity photo taken by Maurice Seymour NY in late 1950s for MCA.jpg
Name: Catherine Gloria Balotta
Born: November 20, 1925
Birth Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Died: January 21, 2019 (aged 93)
Place of death: Rancho Mirage, California
Occupation: Actress, comedian, singer
Years active: 1940s–2017

Kaye Ballard (November 20, 1925 – January 21, 2019) was an American actress, comedian and singer.

Early life[]

Ballard was born Catherine Gloria Balotta in Cleveland, Ohio, one of four children born to Italian immigrant parents, Lena (née Nacarato) and Vincenzo (later Vincent James) Balotta. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Calabria, a region of southern Italy.

Career[]

Ballard established herself as a musical comedian in the 1940s, joining the Spike Jones touring revue of entertainers. Capable of playing broad physical comedy as well as stand-up dialogue routines, she became familiar in television and stage productions. A phrase her mother had used when Kaye was a child, "Good luck with your MOUTH!", became her catchphrase in her sketches and on television. Ballard made her television debut on Henry Morgan's Great Talent Hunt, a short-lived program hosted by Henry Morgan which first aired January 26, 1951. In 1954, she was the first person to record the song "Fly Me to the Moon".

In 1957, she and Alice Ghostley played the two wicked stepsisters in the live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews in the title role. During the 1961–1963 television seasons, Ballard was a regular on The Perry Como Show, as part of the Kraft Music Hall Players, along with Don Adams, Paul Lynde and Sandy Stewart. In 1962, she released the LP Peanuts, on which she played Lucy van Pelt from the comic strip namesake of the album (with Arthur Siegel playing Charlie Brown), and dramatizing a series of vignettes drawn from the strip's archive. In 1964, she had a guest role on The Patty Duke Show, playing a teacher for would-be models. From 1967 to 1969, she co-starred as Kaye Buell, a woman whose son marries her next door neighbor's daughter, in the sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, with Eve Arden playing her neighbour. From 1970 to 1972, she appeared as a regular on The Doris Day Show, playing restaurant owner Angie Pallucci. She made appearances on the game show Match Game. In 1977, she was a guest star on The Muppet Show. She also appeared on the television series Alice, in which she played a kleptomaniac and phony medium as well as Daddy Dearest, where she guest-starred opposite Richard Lewis and Don Rickles.

Ballard starred on Broadway as Helen in The Golden Apple (1954) introducing the song "Lazy Afternoon". She portrayed Ruth in Joseph Papp's The Pirates of Penzance, Rosalie in Carnival! and the title role in Molly, an unsuccessful musical adaptation of the popular radio serial The Goldbergs. She created the role of the Countess and closed out-of-town in Marc Blitzstein's Reuben, Reuben, and played Ruth Sherwood in Wonderful Town at New York City Center in 1963.

In Long Beach, California, she played Mama Morton in Chicago and fought with a vacuum cleaner as Pauline in No, No, Nanette. In 1998, she played Hattie Walker in the Paper Mill Playhouse's acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. In 2005, she appeared in a road-company production of Nunsense, written by Dan Goggin. The following year, she completed her autobiography How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years.

In 1995, she was awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

She appeared in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! as Madam A-Go-Go, a mysterious fortune teller who appears in the episode "Fortune Teller". She also performed with The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California.

In December 2010, she, Donna McKechnie and Liliane Montevecchi starred in a production of From Broadway with Love, staged at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ballard was in the 2012 cabaret show Doin' It for Love, which premiered in Austin, Texas at the Paramount Theatre. Starring Ballard and Montevecchi, the cast included Broadway dancer Lee Roy Reams. (The Austin performance benefited the Texas Humane Legislation Network.) The show then went on to play in Los Angeles on March 8 and 10, 2012. Ballard announced her official retirement in 2015 at the age of 89.

Death[]

Ballard died at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, on January 21, 2019, at the age of 93. The cause was kidney cancer, according to a friend.

Shows appeared[]

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