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Margaret Kathleen Regan (born September 14, 1919 – April 10, 1980), better known as Kay Medford, was an American actress. For her performance as Rose Brice in the musical Funny Girl and the film adaptation of the same name, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Kay Medford
Kay Medford 1963.JPG
Kay Medford in 1963
Margaret Kathleen Regan

(1919-09-14)September 14, 1919
DiedApril 10, 1980(1980-04-10) (aged 60)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1942–1980

Life and careerEdit

Medford was born in 1919[1] in New York City to James and Mary Regan, first-generation Irish-American parents. She was orphaned in her teens. She adopted the name "Kay Medford" professionally, and began her career after graduating from high school and working as a nightclub waitress.

She was the original "Mama" in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway, garnering excellent reviews, but lost the film role to Maureen Stapleton. Medford appeared in the Warner Bros. rock and roll film, Jamboree (1957).[2] She made her Broadway debut in 1951 in the musical Paint Your Wagon.[3]

She was cast in Carousel before she appeared onstage in Funny Girl[3] 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),[4] and when she repeated the role in the 1968 film adaptation, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Her many film credits included roles in A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Rat Race (1960), BUtterfield 8 (1960),[5] Girl of the Night (1960), Ensign Pulver (1964), A Fine Madness (1966), The Busy Body (1967), Angel in My Pocket (1969), Twinky (1969), But I Don't Want to Get Married! (1970), Fire Sale (1977), and Windows (1980).[2]

Medford was cast in guest-starring roles on various television series, including Decoy, To Rome with Love, Marcus Welby, M.D.,The Partridge Family, Barney Miller, and The Dean Martin Show. She co-starred in the 1968-1969 ABC series That's Life.[2]


Kay Medford never married and had no children. She died of cancer in New York City in 1980, aged 60.[6]

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Her year of birth had been misreported as 1914 and 1920 for many years.
  2. ^ a b c Kay Medford on IMDb
  3. ^ a b Kay Medford at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Stevenson, Isabelle; Somlyo, Roy A., eds. (2001). The Tony Award (revised ed.). Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. p. 50. ISBN 0-325-00294-0.
  5. ^ "BUTTERFIELD 8 (1960)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Obituary, The Sun Journal, April 11, 1980 (archived); accessed October 17, 2014.

External linksEdit