Sunday, August 25, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was an American character actress best known as Miss Jane Hathaway on the popular CBS television series The Beverly Hillbillies. Today's Out Spotlight is Nancy Kulp.

Nancy Jean Kulp was born August 28, 1921 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the only child of Robert I. Kulp, a traveling salesman, and his wife, Marjorie S. Kulp. The family moved from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, to Dade County, Florida, sometime before 1935.

Kulp received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Florida State University in 1943, then known as the Florida State College for Women, and she started pursuing a master's degree in English and French at the University of Miami. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Early in the 1940s she worked as a feature writer for the Miami Beach Tropics newspaper, writing profiles of celebrities, including Clark Gable and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

In 1944 she left the University of Miami to volunteer for service in the US Naval Reserve during World War II. As a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Lt. Kulp received several decorations, including the American Campaign Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. She left the service in 1946.

She married Charles Malcolm Dacus on April 1, 1951, in Dade County, Florida; they divorced in 1961.

Late in life Kulp indicated to author Boze Hadley in a 1989 interview that she was a lesbian. "As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it.... I'd appreciate it if you'd let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here's how I would ask it: 'Do you think that opposites attract?' My own reply would be that I'm the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question."

Around the beginning of her marriage, she moved to Hollywood, California, to work in a studio publicity department, where director George Cukor convinced her that she should work in front of a camera.

She made her film debut as a character actress in 1951 in The Model and the Marriage Broker. She then appeared in other films, including Shane, Sabrina, and A Star is Born. Kulp has an uncredited bit part in a crowd scene as a fan of Donald O'Connor in one of the opening scenes in Anything Goes. After working in television on The Bob Cummings Show, she returned to movies in Forever, Darling, The Three Faces of Eve, The Parent Trap, and The Aristocats.

She was once described as television's most homely girl or, as one reviewer put it, possessing the "face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti, and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season." Others described her as tall and prim and praised her comedic skills.

In 1955 Kulp joined the cast of The Bob Cummings Show (a.k.a. Love That Bob) with Bob Cummings, portraying pith-helmeted neighborhood bird-watcher Pamela Livingstone.

In 1956 she appeared in the episode "Johnny Bravo" of Clint Walker's ABC\Warner Brothers series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker. Kulp appeared in 1955-1956 as Anastasia in three episodes of the NBC sitcom It's a Great Life. In 1960, she appeared as Emma St. John in the episode "Kill with Kindness" of the ABC-WB detective series, Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan.


Kulp appeared in one episode of I Love Lucy. In the 1957 episode "Lucy meets the Queen," Kulp portrayed an English maid, showing Lucy and Ethel how to properly curtsy before the Queen. She also appeared in episodes of The Real McCoys, Perry Mason (The Case of the Prodigal Parent, 1958), The Jack Benny Program, 87th Precinct, Pete and Gladys, The Twilight Zone, and The Outlaws, and she briefly played a drunken waitress with slightly slurred speech in a 1959 episode of Maverick, featuring James Garner, entitled "Full House." Kulp played a housekeeper in a pilot for The William Bendix Show, which aired as the 1960-61 season finale of CBS's Mister Ed under the episode title "Pine Lake Lodge."

In 1962 she landed her breakout role of Jane Hathaway, the love-starved bird-watching perennial spinster, on CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies television series. She remained with the show until its cancellation in 1971. In 1967, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her role.

In 1966, she appeared as Wilhemina Peterson in the film The Night of the Grizzly, starring Clint Walker and Martha Hyer.

After The Beverly Hillbillies Kulp appeared on The Brian Keith Show and Sanford and Son. She also appeared in Broadway productions, including Morning's at Seven in 1981.

In 1984, after working with the Democratic State Committee in her home state of Pennsylvania "on a variety of projects" over a period of years, Kulp ran for the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from Pennsylvania, but she lost. As an opponent of a Republican incumbent, Bud Shuster, in a Republican district and in a year in which President Ronald Reagan won a reelection by a landslide, Kulp was the underdog despite the otherwise favorable climate for liberal Democrats in Pennsylvania as a whole. To her dismay Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen supported Shuster and even appeared in a radio commercial in which he called Kulp "too liberal". Ebsen claimed that Kulp exploited her celebrity status, and that she did not have a grasp of the issues. Shuster defeated Kulp with 67 percent of the vote.

After her political defeat Kulp worked for Juniata College in Pennsylvania as an artist in residence. Later she taught acting and retired to a farm in Connecticut and later to Palm Desert, California.

Kulp was diagnosed with cancer in 1990, and she underwent chemotherapy. By 1991 the cancer had spread, and Kulp died on February 3 at a friend's home in Palm Desert, California. She returned home and was buried in the Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.


16 comments:

Jersey Tom said...

I loved Ms Hathaway. She had such a crush on Jethro.

prairiegirl said...

Loved Miss Hathaway.

You could chill a bottle of wine on those photos.

I think they made Jake go back to NYC yesterday and do those. Look how late the pics were posted on IHJ. And what a waste. She looks totally p***ed and in a few of them she's even checking her phone.

That photo op is nothing to hang a hat on.

prairiegirl said...

I agree, m. I really enjoy the show. It's the only current TV show I watch and is the only one I've watched in the past several years since the initial years of Modern Family.

the real m said...

Ah yes. The Beverly hillbillies. That takes me back and she was a hoot.

More proof that the photos were a required performance. Showed up on JJ, like all PR material.

twitter Q? said...

To those who think many of the tweets about Jake are fake:

Jake has been tweeted several times a day the past few days in NYC by real-looking twitter accounts. Do you think these are fake tweets. I do understand that there are fake twitter accounts, and these are probably used at times to place Jake somewhere he is not. But how do you substantiate your theory that tweets from real-looking accounts are fake? Do you think the accounts are actually fake? Do you think the tweets are somehow planted?

prairiegirl said...

I was able to go back and read the Out Spotlight on Nancy Culp, who used to crack me up as Miss Jane. I also recalled her being in the movie The Parent Trap. How sad to read she had died of cancer - so sorry to read of her struggle against that illness.

the real m said...

Well the entire web seems to be overrun with stories about Miley Cyrus. I did not watch the performance as I don't bother with awards shows, but from the videos I've seen, the poor girl looks desperate.

prairiegirl said...

You know, I can't help but comment about this. Heaven knows it is saturating all forums of social media. I had already grown weary and fed up with the downslide of Miley Cyrus but this whole VMA thing has taken it to a new level. I used to love her as Hannah Montana but like so many celebs with "good" images, she was so anxious to shed that image and a la Jessica Biel, Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, etc. she does a 180 by setting a standard that would be hard for anyone to match. Now I can't stand the sight of her.

The negative backlash from last night would make any normal person go hide under a rock for 20 years. But not her. She seems to revel in the attention - it's like any kind of attention is better than none.

Has anyone ever seen this kind of starvation for celebrity-dom? This is what we have become? A goal to trend, to "go viral", to set records for number of tweets per minute?

Miley Ray Cyrus ‏@MileyCyrus 3h

Smilers! My VMA performance had 306.000 tweets per minute. That's more than the blackout or Superbowl! #fact.
3:17 PM - 26 Aug 13 · Details

It's too bad she wasn't even thinking about the effect on her parents. Well - I reckon 25-30 years from now, she will.

That's all she has to say about it - bragging about the # of tweets per minute. I just shake my head.

Anyway, thanks for providing me a venue to express, lol. Geez louise.

prairiegirl said...

m, that is so funny. You and I have had the same thoughts at the same time more than once lately. You must be perusing the internet right now, too.

You can't get away from that story.

Jersey Tom said...

I have zero sympathy for Miley's parents. Especially her father. They created what she has become. What a sad example for young girls.

destiny said...

I saw Miley on the VMAs last night, and I totally agree PG. I didn't even pay that much attention to her performance as I found it dated and boring--come on, do performers really need to grab their crotches. Do they really think that's edgy?

Interesting, and sad, to read about Nancy Culp's post BH life, especially the cancer, and having your own co-star come out against you like that in an election.

prairiegirl said...

I have to say I don't know a lot of the history of her parents, Tom. I guess I was just reacting to how I thought any parent would feel.

What a mess. I do think though that Miley was so hell-bent, so anxious to shed her image as Hannah Montana, that no one was going to stop her. It didn't matter who was going to try. She had, still has one goal in mind and nothing is going to deter her from trying to redo her image.

It's too bad that there are some people who simply don't like who they are and spend their time trying to undo/redo the person whom people fell in love with in the first place.

Jersey Tom said...

From what I have seen PG Miley and her father are very close and it seems like he probably has made many decisions for her and forced her to grow up way too fast. Just my guess.


the real m said...

We've all done things when young that are embarrassments later in life and that performance will surely be one of them for this woman. Hard to believe she had a good relationship with her father when she obviously needs so much male attention. But then look at Jake. Clearly he had loving parents but he said himself that he had to work hard to get any of their attention. So you can't be sure without knowing the details.

Madonna & Brittany said...

Read that Billy Ray and his wife were in much support of Miley's performance last night.

Well, she is trying to shed that Disney Image and I guess she's doing it come hell or hight water! hmmmmm
What will come next?

Special K said...

Thought it was interesting that she was a friend of Rock Hudson's. There was a community within HW for those in the closet back then. Just like there is now.