Phyllis Kirk (born Phyllis Kirkegaard; September 18, 1927 – October 19, 2006) was an American actress.
September 18, 1927
|Died||October 19, 2006 (aged 79)|
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Warren Bush (1966 or 1967 – 1992)|
Kirk was born in Syracuse, New York, although some sources state her birthplace as Plainfield, New Jersey. She contracted polio as a child, which resulted in health problems for the rest of her life. Kirk graduated from Battin High School, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
As a teenager, Kirk moved to New York City to study acting and changed her last name from Kirkegaard to Kirk. She began her career on Broadway before embarking on a television and film career. Among 1949 stage appearances were "My Name is Aquilon" in New York and the road company of "Present Laughter" before beginning her long-term contract with Samuel Goldwyn in Hollywood that summer.
Kirk is best known for her many roles throughout the 1950s. She appeared with Vincent Price in the 3-D horror film House of Wax (1953). Her most notable television role was opposite Peter Lawford in The Thin Man (1957–1959), wherein they played Nick and Nora Charles. A newspaper columnist described what distinguished Kirk's role in the program: "[I]t's her brains that keep her flying high on 'The Thin Man' series."
She also appeared with Jerry Lewis in his 1957 film The Sad Sack and the 1956 film Back from Eternity. Kirk was a regular on The Red Buttons Show and appeared as a guest on some television programs, including an episode of The Twilight Zone ("A World of His Own"). As her acting career slowed down, Kirk began serving as an activist for various social causes. She vocally opposed death row inmate Caryl Chessman's death sentence and visited Chessman in prison until his execution in 1960. After the Watts Riots in 1965, she funded preschool programs for underprivileged families in South Los Angeles.
She granted interviews and wrote for the American Civil Liberties Union newspaper. Kirk made her last onscreen appearance in a 1970 episode of The F.B.I. before leaving show business altogether to enter public relations. She worked as a publicist for CBS News, and retired in 1992.
Kirk's marriage to television producer and screenwriter Warren Bush was announced in the press in early 1967, and lasted until his death in 1992. A Democrat, she attended the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California.
|1950||Our Very Own||Zaza|
|1950||A Life of Her Own||Jerry|
|1950||Two Weeks with Love||Valerie Stresemann|
|1950||Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone||Kay|
|1951||Three Guys Named Mike||Kathy Hunter|
|1952||Just This Once||Young Lover on Ferry||Uncredited|
|1952||About Face||Alice Wheatley|
|1952||She's Working Her Way Through College||Co-ed||Uncredited|
|1952||The Iron Mistress||Ursula de Varamendi|
|1952||Stop, You're Killing Me||Nurse||Uncredited|
|1953||House of Wax||Sue Allen|
|1953||Crime Wave||Ellen Lacey|
|1953||Thunder Over the Plains||Norah Porter|
|1954||River Beat||Judy Roberts|
|1955||Canyon Crossroads||Katherine Rand|
|1956||Johnny Concho||Mary Dark|
|1956||Back from Eternity||Louise Melhorn|
|1957||That Woman Opposite||Eve Atwood|
|1957||The Sad Sack||Major Shelton|
|1952||The Philco Television Playhouse||Dolly||1 episode|
|1952||Tales of Tomorrow||Irene Chappell||1 episode|
|1952–1956||Studio One||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1953||World by the Tail||TV movie|
|1953||Armstrong Circle Theatre||1 episode|
|1953||The United States Steel Hour||Betty Lou||1 episode|
|1953–1954||Lux Video Theatre||2 episodes|
|1953–1954||Goodyear Television Playhouse||Girl||3 episodes|
|1953–1954||The Web||Meg Loomis||2 episodes|
|1953–1957||Robert Montgomery Presents||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1954||Your Show of Shows||1 episode|
|1955||Appointment with Adventure||(CBS anthology series), 1 episode|
|1955||Playwrights '56||Girl Friend||1 episode|
|1955||Letter to Loretta||Jess Blackston||1 episode|
|1955||The Red Buttons Show||Various Characters||Unknown episodes|
|1955–1956||Climax!||Various Characters||3 episodes|
|1956||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Barbara Hunter||1 episode|
|1956||Celebrity Playhouse||Laurie Westbrook||2 episodes|
|1956||Playhouse 90||Nancy Tennant||1 episode|
|1956–1957||The Ford Television Theatre||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1957||The Errol Flynn Theatre||2 episodes|
|1957||The 20th Century Fox Hour||Barbara Sherwood||1 episode|
|1957–1959||The Thin Man||Nora Charles||72 episodes|
|1958||The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford||Herself||1 episode|
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||Ann Bagley||1 episode|
|1960||The Twilight Zone||Victoria West||Episode: "A World of His Own"|
|1970||The F.B.I.||Nora Tobin||1 episode, (final appearance)|
|1959||Emmy Award||Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series||The Thin Man||Nominated|
- "Phyllis Kirk: 1927 - 2006 `House of Wax,' `Thin Man' star". chicagotribune.com. 2006-10-23. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Weaver, Tom (2001). I was a Monster Movie Maker: Conversations with 22 SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 0-7864-1000-0.
- Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 395. ISBN 1-55783-551-9.
- "'House of Wax' actress Kirk dies at 79". usatoday.com. 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Goldwyn Contract for Theatre Ingenue." Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 23 May 1949.
- Scott, Vernon (April 24, 1959). "Phylliss Kirk's Brain Power Keeps Her Flying on Series". The Daily Inter Lake. p. 10. Retrieved April 13, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Vallance, Tom (2006-10-23). "Phyllis Kirk". The Independent (London). p. 2. Retrieved 2008-11-04.[dead link]
- Wilson, Earl. "A Bachelor Girl is Wed." Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal, 6 January 1967.
- on YouTube
- "'House of Wax' actress Phyllis Kirk dead". arts.abc.net.au. 2006-10-23. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
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