Kathleen Chalfant

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Kathleen Chalfant
Born Kathleen Ann Bishop
(1945-01-14) January 14, 1945 (age 70)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1987–present

Kathleen Chalfant (born January 14, 1945) is an American actress.

Life and career[edit]

Chalfant was born as Kathleen Ann Bishop[1][2] in San Francisco, California and raised in her parents' boarding house in Oakland. Her father, William Bishop, was an officer in the Coast Guard. She studied acting with Wynn Handman, who was a protégé of Sanford Meisner and with Alessandro Fersen in Rome, Italy.

Chalfant was nominated for Broadway's 1993 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for her role in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She earned kudos for her performance as Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson's play Wit; she shaved her head for the role.[3] During her work with Wit, she incorporated her experiences dealing with terminal cancer of her half-brother, Alan Palmer, who died in 1998.[4] Her awards for her performance include the Outer Circle Critics, Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel awards.

For her 2003 performance in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads,[5] Chalfant won a second Obie award. In 2009, Chalfant performed in The People Speak,[6] a documentary feature film [7] utilizing dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

Chalfant starred in an independent feature film, Isn't It Delicious?. She played Margaret Tilden during the first season of House of Cards.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966, Chalfant married Henry Chalfant, a photographer and documentary filmmaker. They have a son, David Chalfant, who was the bass player for the folk-rock band, The Nields, and a daughter, Andromache, a set designer in New York.


  1. ^ Search: Kathleen Bishop at familytreelegends.com; accessed April 3, 2014.
  2. ^ California Birth Records info.; accessed April 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Vincent Canby (October 18, 1998). "Battered and Broken, So That She May Rise". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  4. ^ Robin Pogrebin (October 20, 1998). "A Brother's Death Helps Bring a Performance to Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  5. ^ Ben Brantley (April 7, 2003). "Life a Bit of a Mess? Just Carry On, Dear". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  6. ^ The People Speak at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ "Actress Kathleen Chalfant to Deliver Keynote at The Cooper Union's 151st Commencement Address". Cooper Union. April 15, 2010. 
  8. ^ Kathleen Chalfant at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]