Who is Kelly Bishop?

Kelly Bishop is an American actress, probably best known for her roles as Emily Gilmore in the television series “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007), and as Marcy Fryman in the film “Friends with Kids” (2011), in addition to many other roles she has had in her career.

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Kelly Bishop Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education

Carole Bishop was born on 28 February 1944 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, the daughter of Lawrence Boden Bishop and Jane Lenore, and grew up in Denver. She became interested in dancing at an early age, and joined the San Jose Ballet School. When she was 18 years old, Kelly moved to New York City, where she was hired as a ballet dancer by the Radio City Music Hall ballet company. From there, she danced in Las Vegas and on television, before she secured her first Broadway role.

Career Beginnings

Kelly Bishop made her acting debut in 1966, as Missy Linden in the film “Step Out of Your Mind”. After her on-screen debut, she turned to theater and appeared in two plays, “Golden Rainbow” (1968) and “Promises, Promises” also in 1968. In 1975 she rose to stage stardom with the part of Sheila in the play “A Chorus Line”, for which she received a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award.

Three years laterally, Bishop returned to the screen with the portrayal of Elaine Liebowitz in the film “An Unmarried Woman”; directed by Paul Mazursky, the movie  follows the story of a woman navigating her life after her husband leaves her for a younger woman, with Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates and Michael Murphy in the lead roles.

The ’80s

Kelly Bishop worked on several projects in the 1980s; in 1982, she appeared in “O’Hara’s Wife” as Beth Douglas, a drama film about a woman named Eulalie O’Hara seeking to change her life after her husband’s passing. The film featured co-stars such as Edward Herrmann, Karen Grassle, and Kate Mulgrew. In 1986, Bishop took on the role of Tutor Nover in the science fiction film “Solarbabies”; set in a post-apocalyptic future, the story follows a group of orphaned teenagers who discover a powerful energy sphere, and embark on a journey to protect it from an evil regime; the movie starred actors Jason Patric, Jami Gertz, and Lukas Haas.

In 1987, Bishop had a notable role as Marjorie Houseman in the beloved romantic drama “Dirty Dancing”. The film tells the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman, a young woman who falls in love with her dance instructor, Johnny Castle, during a summer resort vacation. In this iconic film, Kelly Bishop shared the screen with Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, and Jerry Orbach. Then in 1988, Bishop appeared in the comedy film “Me and Him” as Eleanor Aramis. The movie follows Bertie and his alter ego, Aramis, as they provide conflicting advice on his love life. Bishop’s co-stars in this film included Griffin Dunne, Ellen Greene, and David Alan Grier.

Moreover, she starred as Ginger Thorn in the sitcom “The Thorns” (1988), and had a guest role in the soap opera ‘One Life to Live” in 1989.

The ’90s

She continued to expand her acting portfolio throughout the ’90s. In 1991, she portrayed Maria in “Queens Logic”, a comedy-drama that follows the lives of a group of friends in Queens, New York, featuring actors such as Kevin Bacon, Linda Fiorentino, and John Malkovich. In 1993, Bishop appeared in “Six Degrees of Separation” as Adele, a film adaptation of John Guare’s play exploring themes of identity and social class, co-starring alongside Will Smith, Stockard Channing, and Donald Sutherland.

Then in 1995, she portrayed Zelda in the romantic comedy “Miami Rhapsody”, about a woman’s search for love in Miami, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas and Mia Farrow as the main stars. Moreover, the same year she featured in the drama film “Cafe Society”, starring Frank Whaley and Lara Flynn Royle, which follows the lives of New York’s elite.

In 1997, she appeared in the biographical comedy film “Private Parts” as Ray Stern, the mother of radio personality Howard Stern, starring Howard Stern himself, Robin Quivers, and Mary McCormack. Before the decade ended, Kelly was Sylvia Weinstein in the comedy film “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception”, which starred Debbie Gibson and Martin Guerre, about a man’s chaotic wedding reception.

The 2000s and Success with ‘Gilmore Girls

From 2000 to 2007, Kelly Bishop achieved significant success and recognition for her portrayal of Emily Gilmore in the television series “Gilmore Girls”. Her role as Emily, the refined and formidable matriarch of the Gilmore family, became one of her most iconic performances. “Gilmore Girls” gained a dedicated and passionate fan base, and Bishop’s portrayal of Emily earned her critical acclaim and widespread admiration. She shared the screen with Lauren Graham, who played her daughter Lorelai, and Edward Hermann, who was her husband Richard Gilmore in the series.

Continued Success and Recent Projects

During “Gilmore Girls”, she wasn’t on the lookout for new roles, but once her stint ended, she continued on, and in 2010, Kelly Bishop appeared in the TV series “Mercy” as Lauren Kempton for four episodes. The medical drama featured Bishop alongside co-stars Taylor Schilling, Jaime Lee Kirchner, and Michelle Trachtenberg, and followed the lives of nurses at Mercy Hospital, exploring the complexities of their personal and professional relationships.

In 2016, Bishop reprised her beloved role as Emily Gilmore in the highly anticipated “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” revival series. The revival brought back the original cast, including Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. The story followed the lives of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore in four 90-minute episodes, each set in a different season, exploring the ups and downs of their relationships and bringing closure to long-standing storylines.

In 2021, Bishop joined the cast of the limited series “Halston”, portraying Eleanor Lambert. The biographical drama starred Ewan McGregor in the titular role as the iconic fashion designer Halston; Eleanor Lambert was a renowned fashion publicist who played a significant role in the fashion world during that era.

Since 2022, Bishop has been part of the acclaimed series “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel”, in which she has a recurring role as Benedetta. The show, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, follows the journey of a housewife turned stand-up comedian in the 1950s. Bishop’s co-stars in the series include Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, and Alex Borstein.

Furthermore, she starred in all ten episodes of the TV series “Watchful Eye” (2023).

Theater Career

In addition to her eponymous work in the play “A Chorus Line”, she had several other notable portrayals. In 1990, Bishop took on the role of Kitty/Louisa “Ouisa” Kittredge in the play “Six Degrees of Separation” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, co-starring Stockard Channing and Josh Cunningham.

In 1996, she appeared in a short revival of the play “Bus Stop” as Grace Hoylard, with 29 performances. This classic drama, written by William Inge, revolves around a group of strangers stranded at a small-town diner during a snowstorm.

In 1997, Bishop joined the cast of “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” as Boo Levy at the Helen Hayes Theatre. This Tony Award-winning play, written by Alfred Uhry, delves into the lives of a Jewish family in Atlanta during the 1939 premiere of the film “Gone with the Wind”.

Also in 1997, Bishop appeared in the play “Proposals” as Annie Robbins at the Broadhurst Theatre. Written by Neil Simon, the play is set in the 1950s and explores the relationships and romantic entanglements of a group of characters gathered at a summer resort.

Her next theater role came in 2011 when Kelly featured her talents in the musical “Anything Goes” as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. This classic Cole Porter production follows the misadventures of passengers aboard an ocean liner. Bishop’s performance was well-received during the show’s run from 9 August 2011 to 15 January 2012.

Net Worth

According to authoritative sources, Kelly Bishop’s net worth is estimated at $4 million, as of mid-2023.

Personal Life, Marriage, Husband, Children

Kelly Bishop was married to Lee Leonard, a famed TV show host from 1981 until his death in 2018. They didn’t have children. She now resides in South Orange, New Jersey.

Body Measurements

Kelly Bishop has brown hair and brown eyes. She stands at a height of 5ft 6ins (1.68m), while she weighs approximately 130lbs (60kgs). Her vital statistics are unknown.

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