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Polly Bergen dies at the age of 84

Emmy-winning actress and singer Polly Bergen died Saturday, according to her publicist. She was 84.
Bergen was 20 and already an established singer when she starred with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in her first movie, At War With the Army. She joined them in two more comedies, That’s My Boy and The Stooge.
In 1953, she made her Broadway debut with Harry Belafonte in the revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. In 1957-58 she starred on the musical-variety The Polly Bergen Show on NBC, closing every broadcast with her theme song, The Party’s Over. Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 portraying the tragic singer Helen Morgan on the famed anthology series Playhouse 90.
Signed to Columbia records, she enjoyed a successful recording career during this era, as well. In 1963 Bergen co-starred with Doris Day and James Garner in the film comedy, Move Over, Darling.
But she was not just an actress and a singer, she was an entrepeneur as well: In 1965, Bergen created the Polly Bergen Company cosmetics line. She also created lines of jewelry and shoe brands, and authored three books on beauty .A fierce ambition prevailed throughout Bergen’s entertainment career and in her business life. She walked out of early contracts with Paramount and MGM because she thought her film roles were inadequate. She remained a succesful actress though, appearing in movies like Cape Fear and Kisses For My President.
In recent years, she played Felicity Huffman’s mother on Desperate Housewives and the past mistress of Tony Soprano’s late father on The Sopranos.
Bergen’s personal life was not as smooth as her career. Her four-year marriage to actor Jerome Courtland ended in an acrimonious divorce in 1955. Her second marriage was to super-agent and producer Freddie Fields and they adopted two children together. The couple divorced in 1975 after 18 years. In 1982 she married entrepreneur Jeff Endervelt. She co-signed his loans and gave him millions to invest from her beauty company profits. The stock market crash of the 1980s wiped out the investments. She divorced him in 1991.
Bergen died at her home in Southbury, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends, publicist Judy Katz said. She had battled emphysema and other ailments in the late 1990s, a result of 50 years of smoking.

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