Kelly Bishop

A highly talented performer of musical theater who has made some inroads moving into character roles in straight comedy and drama, Kelly Bishop is one of those performers whose abilities are heralded by show business ... Read more »
Born: 02/27/1944 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA


Actor (27)

Bunheads 2012 - 2013 (Tv Show)


Friends With Kids 2012 (Movie)

Marcy Fryman (Actor)

As the World Turns 1955 - 2010 (TV Show)


Mercy 2010 (Tv Show)


Army Wives 2009 (Tv Show)


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2000, 2008 - 2009 (Tv Show)


Gilmore Girls 2000 - 2007 (TV Show)


Gilmore Girls Backstage Special 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)


Talk to Me 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Wonder Boys 2000 (Movie)

Amanda Leer (Actor)

Private Parts 1997 (Movie)

Ray Stern (Actor)

The Wedding Band 1997 (Movie)

Sylvia Weinstein (Actor)

Miami Rhapsody 1995 (Movie)

Zelda (Actor)

My Wildest Dreams 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Law & Order 1992 (Tv Show)


Summer Stories: The Mall 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)


Queens Logic 1991 (Movie)


Me and Him 1989 (Movie)

Mrs Karamis (Actor)

The Thorns 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Dirty Dancing 1987 (Movie)

Marjorie Houseman (Actor)

The Recovery Room 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)


O'Hara's Wife 1982 (Movie)

Beth Douglas (Actor)

An Unmarried Woman 1978 (Movie)

Elaine (Actor)

A Year at the Top 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)


Advice to the Lovelorn (TV Show)


Cafe Society (TV Show)


Love and Learn (TV Show)



A highly talented performer of musical theater who has made some inroads moving into character roles in straight comedy and drama, Kelly Bishop is one of those performers whose abilities are heralded by show business insiders, but whose star does not glisten as much as it should. A "gypsy" (chorus dancer) from her teen years, she is best recalled by theatergoers for her Tony-winning performance as Sheila, the aging, sarcastic hoofer, in the original Broadway company of "A Chorus Line" (1975). In films, Bishop may be remembered as Jill Clayburgh's best friend and confidante in "An Unmarried Woman" (1978) and as the mother of Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing" (1987).

Born Carole Bishop, a name she used professionally until the mid-70s, she was only 18 when she joined the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall. By 1968, Bishop was in the Broadway chorus of "Golden Rainbow" and later that year worked for choreographer Michael Bennett in the award-winning "Promises, Promises". She toured with Debbie Reynolds and Ruth Warrick in "Irene" (1974) before Bennett's "A Chorus Line" raised her profile. But despite the accolades and acclaim, Bishop remained a working dancer-actor. She began to move to straight plays eventually appearing in "Vanities" (1978) and was stand-by for Stockard Channing in "Six Degrees of Separation" (1990), eventually succeeding her in the leading role of Ouisa Kittredge. More recently, Bishop was the diner owner in the Broadway revival of "Bus Stop" (1996) and co-starred in Neil Simon's short-lived "Proposals" (1997).

As Bishop moved to dramatic and comic roles, she attempted to carve a niche in TV, but she underwent a frustrating sojourn in Hollywood in which she played Dee Dee, the daughter of the Devil, in the short-lived sitcom "A Year at the Top" (CBS, 1977), and was cast asunder when the show failed. She gathered her wits and returned to New York, now slightly heavier and more of a character player. But Hollywood still didn't get her, often casting her as patient wives, overbearing mothers, cry-on-my-shoulder friends and co-workers. Not one to turn down any work, she moved readily between primetime (playing gal Friday to Miss Lonelyhearts writer Cloris Leachman in the 1981 NBC TV-movie "Advice to the Lovelorn") to features ("O'Hara's Wife" 1982) to daytime television (most notably, "As the World Turns"). Bishop tried sitcoms again when Mike Nichols cast her as Tony Roberts' status-loving spouse in the short-lived "The Thorns" (ABC, 1988). She delivered a memorable guest appearance as the left-wing mother to Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) in a 1992 episode of "Murphy Brown" and was Lisa Ann Walter's mother on the short-lived "My Wildest Dreams" (Fox, 1995). Bishop had supporting parts in "Queens Logic" (1991) and "Six Degrees of Separation" (1993) and had one of her best screen roles as Paul Mazursky's mistress in "Miami Rhapsody" (1995). More recently, she garnered attention as Ray Stern, mother of radio shock jock Howard Stern, in the autobiographical "Private Parts" (1997).


Lawrence Boden Bishop


Jane Lenore Bishop


Lee Leonard


Peter Miller



American Ballet Theatre School

New York , New York

San Jose Ballet School

San Jose , California



Had regular role as the mother and grandmother of the titular "Gilmore Girls" (The WB)


Replaced Carole Shelley (who in turn had replaced Dana Ivey) in the Tony-winning play "The Last Night of Ballyhoo"


Played mother to Howard Stern in "Private Parts"


Returned to Broadway in the short-lived Neil Simon play "Proposals"


Had featured role of Grace in the revival of "Bus Stop", starring Mary-Louise Parker and Billy Crudup


Cast as a doctor on the ABC soap "One Life to Live"


Was regular on series "My Wildest Dreams" (Fox)


Co-starred as the mistress of Paul Mazursky's Vic Marcus in "Miami Rhapsody"


Had supporting role in the film version of "Six Degrees of Separation"


Played mother to Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) in memorable episode of "Murphy Brown" (CBS)


Had recurring role on the ABC soap opera "One Life to Live"


Portrayed Ginger Thorn in the short-lived ABC sitcom "The Thorns"


Played mother to Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing"


Feature acting debut, "An Unmarried Woman"


Co-starred in the short-lived TV series, "A Year at the Top" (CBS)


Won acclaim as the tart-tongued, aging hoofer Sheila in original production of "A Chorus Line"; changed billing from Carole Bishop to Kelly Bishop during the early run of the show


Broadway debut in "Golden Rainbow"


Billed as Carole Bishop, made stage debut in corps de ballet of Radio City Music Hall

Played regular role of Grace on the CBS drama serial "As the World Turns"

Played the leading role of Ouisa Kittredge in the Braodway production of "Six Degrees of Separation"; originally understudied Stockard Channing

Bonus Trivia


"I'm delighted to be working, because there's so little opportunity now fot a lot of really talented, middle-aged women. I've been performing for 35 years, and there's nothing quite as special as walking in the stage door of a Broadway house, knowing that's where you're going to work." --Kelly Bishop to In Theater, November 14, 1998.