Frances Bergen (née Westerman;[1] September 14, 1922 – October 2, 2006) was an American actress and fashion model.[citation needed] She was the wife of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the mother of actress Candice Bergen and film and television editor Kris Bergen.[2]

Frances Bergen
Bergen in Yancy Derringer (1958)
Frances Westerman

(1922-09-14)September 14, 1922
DiedOctober 2, 2006(2006-10-02) (aged 84)
Other namesFrances Westcott
Occupation(s)Film, television actress, model
Years active1953–1998
(m. 1945; died 1978)
Children2; including Candice Bergen
X Brands, Bergen, and Jock Mahoney
Candice Bergen and Frances Bergen at the 62nd Academy Awards, March 1990

Early life edit

In 1933, Bergen's father died of tuberculosis, when Frances was ten years old. Shortly after, her mother moved the family to Los Angeles. She graduated from Los Angeles High School.[3]

Career edit

As an actress, Bergen had supporting or minor roles in a number of films. She made her debut in Titanic (1953),[4] after which she appeared in Robert Z. Leonard's Her Twelve Men (1954), and Douglas Sirk's Interlude (1957). During the 1958-1959 television season, Frances became the recurring love interest on the western show Yancy Derringer as Madame Francine,[5] the strong willed but beautiful owner of a members-only gambling house in New Orleans set in 1868. She also was featured on a 1956 record, The Beguiling Miss Frances Bergen, accompanied by accordionist Art Van Damme.

Bergen also made numerous other appearances on television, with guest starring roles on The Millionaire, The Dick Powell Show, Barnaby Jones, MacGyver, and Murder, She Wrote.

She returned to films in the 1980s, with small roles in American Gigolo (1980), The Sting II (1983), The Star Chamber (1983), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), Hollywood Wives (1985) (starring her famous daughter), The Morning After (1986), and Made in America (1993). She also had a major part in Henry Jaglom's independently made film Eating (1990). She appeared on two episodes of Murphy Brown, her daughter's hit show, including Part One of the series finale in 1998.

Personal life edit

In 1941, Frances Westerman met Edgar Bergen after a radio program when he was 38 and she was 19. Westerman, who had graduated from Los Angeles High School the year before, was in the audience of Edgar Bergen's radio program as the guest of a member of his staff. Sitting in the front row, the young fashion model's long legs caught the attention of Bergen, who asked to meet her.[6]

On June 28, 1945, the two were married in Mexico, after years of long distance courtship. They remained happily married until Edgar's death on September 30, 1978, at age 75.[citation needed]

On May 9, 1946, the couple welcomed their first child, Candice Bergen.[7] Fifteen years later, on October 12, 1961, they had a son, Kris Edgar Bergen, who would later become a film and television editor.[citation needed]

Death edit

On October 2, 2006, aged 84, Bergen died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of undisclosed causes following "a prolonged illness".[7]

Filmography edit

Year Title Role Notes
1953 Titanic Madeleine Astor
1954 Her Twelve Men Sylvia Carlin
1957 Interlude Gertrude Kirk
1980 American Gigolo Mrs. Laudner
1981 Rich and Famous Literary Party Guest
1983 The Sting II Lady Dorsett
1983 The Star Chamber Mrs. Cummins
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Leonard Winesop's Receptionist
1986 The Morning After Mrs. Harding
1990 Eating Whitney
1993 Made in America White Woman #2

References edit

  1. ^ Lentz, Harris M. III (2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2006: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5211-8. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Archerd, Army (October 4, 2006). "Frances Bergen Dies". Variety.
  3. ^ McLellan, Dennis (October 5, 2006). "Frances Bergen, 84, dies". The Daily Herald. California, Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times. p. 22. Retrieved September 11, 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Frances Bergen, 84, Actress and Model, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 8, 2006. ISSN 0362-4331.
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 1201. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ Bergen, Candice (1984). Knock wood. New York: Linden Press. ISBN 0-671-25294-1. OCLC 10298903.
  7. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (October 4, 2006). "Frances Bergen, 84; Actress' No. 1 Role Was as Wife and Mother to Stars". Los Angeles Times.

External links edit