Kaye Ballard (born November 20, 1925) is an American musical theatre and television actress, comedienne and singer.
Ballard was born Catherine Gloria Balotta in Cleveland, Ohio, one of four children born to Italian emigrant parents, Lena (née Nacarato) and Vincenzo (later Vincent James) Balotta. Her siblings are Orlando, Jean, and Rosalie.
Kaye established herself as a musical comedienne in the 1940s, joining the Spike Jones touring revue of entertainers. Capable of playing broad physical comedy as well as stand-up dialogue routines, she became familiar in television and stage productions. A phrase her mother had used when Kaye was a child, "Good luck with your MOUTH!", became her catchphrase in her sketches and on television. Ballard made her TV debut on Henry Morgan's Great Talent Hunt, hosted by Henry Morgan, a short-lived NBC program which first aired January 26, 1951. In 1954, she was the first person to record the song "In Other Words" (later renamed "Fly Me to the Moon").
In 1957, she and Alice Ghostley played the two wicked stepsisters in the live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews in the title role. In 1962, she released an LP, Peanuts, on which she played Lucy van Pelt from the comic strip namesake of the album (with Arthur Siegel playing Charlie Brown), and dramatizing a series of vignettes drawn from the strip's archive. In 1964 she had a guest role on "The Patty Duke Show", playing a teacher for would-be models. From 1967-69, she co-starred as Kaye Buell, a woman whose son marries her next door neighbor's daughter, in the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, with Eve Arden playing her neighbor. She also appeared as a regular on The Doris Day Show as restaurant owner Angie Pallucci from 1970-72. She made appearances on the American television game show Match Game. In 1977, she was a guest star on The Muppet Show. She also appeared on the TV series Alice, in which she played a kleptomaniac phony medium, as well as Daddy Dearest where she guest-starred opposite Richard Lewis and Don Rickles as a DMV clerk.
Ballard starred on Broadway as Helen in The Golden Apple, introducing the song "Lazy Afternoon". She portrayed Rosalie in Carnival!, Ruth in Joseph Papp's The Pirates of Penzance, and the title role in Molly, an unsuccessful musical adaptation of the popular radio serial, The Goldbergs. She created the role of the Countess and closed out-of-town in Marc Blitzstein's Reuben, Reuben, and played Ruth Sherwood in Wonderful Town at New York City Center in 1963.
In Long Beach, California, she played Mama Morton in Chicago and fought with a vacuum cleaner as Pauline in No No Nanette. In 1998, she played Hattie Walker in the Paper Mill Playhouse's acclaimed 1998 revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. In 2005, she appeared in a road-company production of Nunsense, written by Dan Goggin. The following year, she completed her autobiography, How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years.
In 1995, she was awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
She appeared in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show as "Madam A-Go-Go", a mysterious fortune teller who appears in the episode "Fortune Teller." She also performed with The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California.
In December 2010, she, Donna McKechnie and Liliane Montevecchi starred in a Santa Fe, New Mexico production of From Broadway with Love, staged at the Lensic Theater.
Ballard is in the 2012 cabaret show, Doin' It for Love, which premiered in Austin, Texas at the historic Paramount Theatre. Starring Ballard and Montevecchi, the cast included Broadway dancer Lee Roy Reams. (The Austin performance benefited the Texas Humane Legislation Network.) On March 9-10, 2012, the show played in Los Angeles.
A breast cancer survivor, Ballard has never married. She currently lives in Rancho Mirage, California. The house she lived in was once owned by her friend, Desi Arnaz, and she bought it from him, after staying there while she worked on The Mothers-in-Law.
The Girl Most Likely (1957),
A House Is Not a Home (1964),
Which Way to the Front? (1970),
The Ritz (1976),
Freaky Friday (1976),
Falling in Love Again (1980),
The Perils of P.K. (1986),
Tiger Warsaw (1988),
Modern Love (1990),
Joey Takes a Cab (1991),
Ava's Magical Adventure (1994),
Walking to Waldheim (1997) (short subject),
The Modern Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1998),
Baby Geniuses (1999),
Little Insects (2000) (voice),
The Million Dollar Kid (2000),
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003) (documentary),
The Pool of Desire (2004) (short subject),
Troupers (2011) (documentary),
Touch and Go (London, 1950),
The Golden Apple (1954),
Reuben, Reuben (1955) (closed on the road),
Wonderful Town (1958; 1963),
The Beast In Me (1963),
Royal Flush (1964) (closed on the road),
The Decline and Fall of the Entire World As Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter (1965),
Minnie's Boys (1972),
Sheba (1974) (closed on the road),
The Pirates of Penzance (1981) (replacement for Estelle Parsons),
Hey, Ma ... Kaye Ballard (1984),
High Spirits (1984),
The Ladies Who Wrote the Lyrics (1985),
Kaye Ballard: Working 42nd St. at Last! (1988),
Nymph Errant (1989),
Funny Girl (1991; 1997; 2002),
Hey, Ma - Working Hollywood Blvd. at Last! (1991),
No, No, Nanette (1997),
The Full Monty (2001),
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license