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Kaye Ballard, Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 93

She starred in The Golden Apple and Carnival! on Broadway, but made her reputation on the TV sitcom The Mothers-in-Law.

A promotional image of Kaye Ballard in the late 1950s.
(© Maurice Seymour/Wikimedia Commons)

Kaye Ballard, star of theater, film, and television, died Monday at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. She was 93.

Born Catherine Gloria Balotta in Cleveland in 1925, Ballard began her career as a musical comedian as part of Spike Jones's touring revue in the 1940s. Over the course of her subsequent career, she appeared on Broadway in Top Banana, The Golden Apple, Carnival!, The Beast in Me, Molly, and The Pirates of Penzance. Among her other notable stage productions were the Paper Mill Playhouse stagings of No, No, Nanette and Follies, as well as the national tour of The Full Monty. She received a Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance in the solo show Hey, Ma...Kaye Ballard.

Onscreen, Ballard made her television debut in Henry Morgan's Great Talent Hunt in 1951. She was a regular on The Perry Como Show as part of the Kraft Music Hall Players, had a recurring role on the Doris Day Show, and made guest appearances on programs ranging from The Love Boat to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! She hit it big opposite Eve Arden in the two-season series The Mothers-in-Law.

A regular in the Palm Springs theater scene, Ballard did her last tour in Doin' It for Love, opposite Lee Roy Reams and Liliane Montevecchi, in 2012 at the age of 86. In the days before her death, Ballard had made a public appearance at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for a screening of her documentary Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On. It was subsequently named selected as one of the Best of the Fest.

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