Who is Kelly Bishop?
American actress and dancer Carole ‘Kelly’ Bishop was born in Colorado Springs, USA, on 28 February 1944, making Pisces her zodiac sign. She’s appeared in 49 movies and TV series, but is probably still known best for playing Emily Gilmore in all the 154 episodes of the comedy series “Gilmore Girls”, which starred Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham, and was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. It follows the lives of a mother and daughter from Stars Hollow, Connecticut, the series aired from 2000 through 2007, and won 23 of its 108 award nominations.
Kelly’s still today active in the film industry and is currently shooting for the critically acclaimed comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel”, which has been airing since 2017, while Kelly joined the cast in 2022.
Education and early life
Kelly was raised in Denver, Colorado by her father Lawrence Boden Bishop and mother Jane Lenore, and because she’s never spoken about having siblings, most of Kelly’s fans believe that she’s an only child.
She was mostly into dancing while growing up, and studied at San Jose Ballet School; she appeared in a couple of school plays during her teenage years, but wasn’t interested in an acting career at that time.
Kelly matriculated in 1962, and then moved to New York City, where she began working at Radio City Musical Hall as a member of a ballet company; she continued dancing in both New York City and Las Vegas, Nevada until 1967, when she was cast to appear in her first Broadway play “Golden Rainbow”. Kelly danced and appeared in many plays in the following 10 years, prior to launching her TV career.
Roles in TV series
Kelly’s debut TV series role was playing Charlene Jenkins in the 1976 episode “Oldest Profession – Latest Price” of the crime mystery “Hawaii Five-O”, and her following role came in 1982, when cast to portray Laura in the episode “Hart of Diamonds” of the action crime adventure “Hart to Hart”.
The first half of the ‘80s saw her appear in an episode of various series, including the comedy “The New Odd Couple”, another comedy “Kate & Allie”, and the romantic drama “Ryan’s Hope”. She gained recognition in 1988, when cast to star as Ginger Thorn in the comedy “The Thorns”, created by Allan Leicht and Tom King, and which also starred Lori Petty and Lisa Rieffel; the series follows the Thorn family who’ve recently become rich.
The year 1992 saw Kelly make a guest appearance in an episode of the adventure comedy “ABC Afterschool Specials”, the crime mystery “Law & Order”, and the comedy “Murphy Brown”. What marked the ‘90s for her was perhaps playing Gloria James in five episodes of the comedy “My Wildest Dreams”, which starred Lisa Ann Walter, John Posey and J. Evan Bonifant, and follows a working mother who’s dreaming of becoming a rock ‘n’ roll musician.
Kelly appeared in only three other TV series besides “Gilmore Girls” in the 2000s: the crime mystery “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, the romantic war drama “Army Wives”, and the drama “Mercy”.
From 2010 through 2016, she played Bea Wilson in three episodes of the popular crime mystery “The Good Wife”, which follows a woman whose state attorney husband’s been sent to jail, and who now has to raise their children by herself; the series starred Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies, and won 31 of the 245 awards for which it was nominated.
Kelly’s three most recent TV series roles have been in four episodes of the 2016 comedy mini-series “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”, the 2021 episode “Versailles” of the biographical mini-series “Halston”, and three episodes of the 2023 mystery thriller “The Watchful Eye”.
Roles in movies
Kelly’s debut film role was playing Elaine in the 1978 romantic comedy “An Unmarried Woman”, written and directed by Paul Mazursky, and which starred Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates and Michael Murphy. It follows a wealthy woman who’s trying to come to terms with the fact that her husband of 16 years has left her for a younger woman, and the film won six of its 24 award nominations, including Oscar nominations for Best Writing, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jill Clayburgh) and Best Picture.
Some of Kelly’s following roles were in the 1981 drama “Advice to the Lovelorn”, the 1982 comedy “O’Hara’s Wife” and the 1985 comedy “The Recovery Room”. She played Marjorie Houseman in the evergreen 1987 romantic musical “Dirty Dancing”, which starred Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, and was directed by Amile Ardolino. It follows Catskills resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle who’s fallen in love with the camp’s attendant Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, and the movie won 12 of its 18 award nominations, including an Oscar win for Best Music, Original Song.
Kelly appeared in only a couple of movies in the ‘90s, including the 1993 mystery comedy “Six Degrees of Separation”, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Stockard Channing), the 1995 romantic comedy “Miami Rhapsody”, and the 1999 musical comedy “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception”.
If I knew Kelly Bishop was working that day I would always go down to set to watch. A masterclass in #acting and I had a…
Posted by Tanc Sade on Friday, January 6, 2017
She had no film roles in the next decade, and then in 2011 portrayed Marcy Fryman in the romantic comedy “Friends with Kids”, written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who also starred in it, alongside Adam Scott and Maya Rudolph. It follows two best friends who’ve decided to have a child together, and the film was nominated for two awards.
Some of Kelly’s most recent film roles have been in the 2014 drama “Dangerous Liaisons”, the 2018 romantic drama “The Salzburg Story”, and the 2019 romantic drama “Art of Falling in Love”.
Kelly sang the song “You’re the Top” in the 2007 episode “Unto the Breach” of the series “Gilmore Girls”.
Some of her most recent talk-show appearances have been in “Donahue”, “EW Reunites” and “Today”.
Awards and nominations
Kelly’s won one of her 10 award nominations: a 2004 Gold Derby TV Award for Comedy Supporting Actress, for her performance in “Gilmore Girls”; she was nominated for the same award in 2005 and 2006.
Some of her other nominations include two Satellite Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series in 2003 and 2004, and three Online Film & Television Association Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2003, 2004 and 2005, all for “Gilmore Girls”.
Love life and marriages
Kelly’s been married twice. Not many people know that she was married to American non-celebrity Peter Miller; they exchanged vows in 1970, but divorced a couple of years later. Kelly avoids speaking about Peter in public, and no details about him have been disclosed.
She married her second husband, the late American sports journalist and anchor Lee Leonard on 15 April 1980, and the marriage ended when Lee passed away on 16 December 2018, aged 89.
Kelly seems to be unattached as of May 2023, has been married twice and doesn’t have children.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Kelly was initially cast to play an insignificant role in the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”, however, after the actress Lynn Lipton became ill and was unable to play the main character’s mother, Kelly was chosen instead.
She loves animals and has donated money to several animal shelters; Kelly’s favorite animals are dolphins and cats.
She loves to do gardening, and was into hiking, aerobics and Pilates when she was younger.
Kelly isn’t active on any of the today’s popular social media networks.
One of Kelly’s favorite actresses is Meryl Streep, and some of her favorite films include “The Manchurian Candidate”, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and “Suffragette”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Kelly’s age is 79. She has brown hair and eyes, is 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall and weighs around 135lbs (62kgs).
Kelly’s net worth’s been estimated at over $4 million, as of May 2023.