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Emmy-Winning Actress Polly Bergen, of Southbury, Dies at 84

Emmy-winning actress and singer Polly Bergen died at her home in Southbury, Connecticut on Saturday. Bergen played the terrorized wife in the original 1962 film "Cape Fear," and the first woman president in the 1964 film "Kisses for My President." She was 84 years old.

During her career, Bergen made albums and performed in stage musicals and TV dramas. She also hosted her own variety series, was a popular game show panelist, and founded a thriving beauty products company.

From The New York Times article about her:

In the mid-1960s, she began selling a line of Polly Bergen Cosmetics, which she eventually sold to Fabergé. She followed that with Polly Bergen Jewelry and Polly Bergen Shoes. She soon became a successful entrepreneur as well as the author of three advice books: “Fashion and Charm” (1960), “Polly’s Principles” (1974) and “I’d Love to, but What Will I Wear?” (1977). She was also an advocate for women, especially on the subject of reproductive rights.

Below is Bergen's performance in a clip from the television series, "The Sopranos." She played the past mistress of Tony Soprano’s late father. In this scene, she’s meeting Tony Soprano for the first time.

Bergen won an Emmy Award in 1958 for her performance of singer Helen Morgan in "The Helen Morgan Story." She was also nominated for an Emmy for her role as Felicity Huffman's mother on "Desperate Housewives." 

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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