Carole "Kelly" Bishop (born February 28, 1944) is an American actress and dancer, best known for her roles as matriarch Emily Gilmore on the series Gilmore Girls and as Marjorie Houseman, the mother of Jennifer Grey's Frances "Baby" Houseman in the film Dirty Dancing. Bishop created the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line, for which she won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She also starred as Fanny Flowers in the ABC Family short-lived comedy-drama series Bunheads.
Bishop at the ATX TV Festival 2015 for the TV show Gilmore Girls
February 28, 1944
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
|Residence||South Orange, New Jersey|
|Spouse(s)||Peter Miller (divorced)
Lee Leonard (1981–present)
Bishop was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Jane Lenore (née Wahtola) and Lawrence Boden Bishop. She grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she trained to be a ballet dancer, attending and the San Jose Ballet School. At eighteen, she headed to New York City and landed her first job dancing in a year-round ballet company at Radio City Music Hall. Bishop continued to dance in Las Vegas, summer stock and on television until she was cast in 1967 in Golden Rainbow, her first Broadway role.
Bishop's big break came when she was cast as the sexy, hard-edged Sheila in the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. Her performance earned her the 1976 Tony Award as "Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical)" as well as the 1976 Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Musical". She also acted in the Broadway productions of Six Degrees of Separation, Neil Simon's Proposals, the Tony Award-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Bus Stop. It wasn't long before she was cast opposite Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky's big-screen drama An Unmarried Woman (1978). Bishop was initially cast in a much smaller part in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, but was called upon to play Mrs. Houseman when Lynne Lipton, the actress assigned the role, fell ill during the first week of shooting.
Bishop went on to play a "mom" to high-profile stars in features: Howard Stern's in the Betty Thomas-directed comedy Private Parts (1997), and Tobey Maguire's in Wonder Boys (2000). Additional feature credits include Ich und Er (USA: Me and Him, 1988), Queens Logic (1991), Café Society (1995), Miami Rhapsody (1995) and Blue Moon (2002). On television, Bishop starred in the Mike Nichols' The Thorns opposite Tony Roberts and Marilyn Cooper. She played Lisa Ann Walter's mother on My Wildest Dreams. She has guest-starred on Kate & Allie, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Murphy Brown.
Bishop was in Becky Shaw at the Second Stage Theatre in 2008. She then performed briefly in the 2011 revival of Anything Goes alongside Sutton Foster and Joel Grey. She replaced Jessica Walter in the role of Evangeline Harcourt.
She returned to the role of Emily Gilmore in the miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016) on Netflix.
|1966||Step Out of Your Mind||Missy Linden|
|1978||Unmarried Woman, AnAn Unmarried Woman||Elaine|
|1982||O'Hara's Wife||Beth Douglas|
|1987||Dirty Dancing||Marjorie Houseman|
|1988||Me and Him||Eleanor Aramis|
|1993||Six Degrees of Separation||Adele|
|1995||Cafe Society||Mrs. Jelke|
|1997||Private Parts||Ray Stern|
|1999||My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception||Sylvia Wienstein|
|2000||Blue Moon||Peggy's Mother|
|2000||Wonder Boys||Amanda Leer|
|2011||Friends with Kids||Marcy Fryman|
|2011||Novel Romance, AA Novel Romance||Lily Sparks|
|1976||Hawaii Five-0||Char||Episode: "Oldest Profession - Latest Price"|
|1981||Advice to the Lovelorn||Rita Borden||TV film|
|1982||Hart to Hart||Laura||Episode: "Hart of Diamonds"|
|1983||New Odd Couple, TheThe New Odd Couple||Charity||Episode: "Murray's Hot Date"|
|1984||Kate & Allie||Paulette||Episode: "Baby"|
|1985||Recovery Room, TheThe Recovery Room||Kaye Brenner||TV film|
|1987||As the World Turns||Grace Wescott Andrews||TV series|
|1988||Thorns, TheThe Thorns||Ginger Thorn||Main role (12 episodes)|
|1989||One Life to Live||Serena Wyman||1 episode|
|1990||Baby-Sitters Club, TheThe Baby-Sitters Club||Flora||Episode: "Claudia and the Secret Passage"|
|1992||ABC Afterschool Special||Roxanne Holden||Episode: "Summer Stories: The Mall - Part 1"|
|1992||Law & Order||Marian Borland||Episode: "Intolerance"|
|1992||Murphy Brown||Connie Silverberg||Episode: "Me Thinks My Parents Doth Protest Too Much"|
|1995||All My Children||Freida Landau||TV series|
|1995||My Wildest Dreams||Gloria James||Recurring role (5 episodes)|
|1996||One Life to Live||Dr. Robbins||1 episode|
|2000||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Registrar||Episode: "Slaves"|
|2000–2007||Gilmore Girls||Emily Gilmore||Main role (110 episodes)|
|2008–2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Julia Zimmer||2 episodes|
|2009||Army Wives||Jean Calhoun||Episode: "Operation: Tango"|
|2010||Mercy||Lauren Kempton||4 episodes|
|2010||Good Wife, TheThe Good Wife||Mrs. Kent (voice)||Episode: "VIP Treatment"; uncredited|
|2012–2013||Bunheads||Fanny Flowers||Main role (13 episodes)|
|2015||Flesh and Bone||Episode: "F.U.B.A.R."|
|2015–2016||The Good Wife||Bea Wilson||2 episodes|
|2016||Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life||Emily Gilmore||Main role (4 episodes)|
|1968||Golden Rainbow||Cat-Girl/Dancer||Shubert Theatre|
|1968||Promises, Promises||Clancy's Lounge Patron/Company Nurse||Shubert Theatre|
|1968||Precious Sons||Bea (standby)|
|1971||On the Town||Dance Ensemble||Imperial Theatre|
|1975||A Chorus Line||Sheila||Shubert Theatre
Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
|1990||Six Degrees of Separation||Kitty/Ouisa||Vivian Beaumont Theater
|1996||Bus Stop||Grace Hoylard||Short revival, 29 performances|
|1997||The Last Night of Ballyhoo||Boo Levy||Helen Hayes Theatre
|1997||Proposals||Annie Robbins||Broadhurst Theatre|
|2011||Anything Goes||Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt||Stephen Sondheim Theatre
August 9, 2011 - January 15, 2012
- "Profile at FilmReference.com". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- "Kelly Bishop Biography". Yahoo! Movies. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- "'Gilmore Girls' reunion: Kelly Bishop joins Amy Sherman-Palladino's new ABC Family show -- EXCLUSIVE". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "THEATER; Two Mature Lives on Stage and Screen, Now Playing in New Jersey", The New York Times, September 19, 1999. "She and her husband, Lee Leonard, the host of Jersey Talking on News 12 in Edison, have been living in South Orange for four years."
- Worth-Baker, Marcia. "Mother's Always Right: played the mother many times over", Maplewood Matters, accessed April 22, 2007. "Ask Kelly Bishop, South Orange resident and star of Gilmore Girls, what drew her to the role of Emily Gilmore, and she recalls, 'The pilot was simply the best script I ever read.'"