|Born||Katharine Gratten Aldridge
July 9, 1917
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
|Died||January 12, 1995
Rockport, Maine, U.S.
Cause of death
Kay Aldridge (July 9, 1917 – January 12, 1995) was an American model and actress. She is best known for playing feisty and frequently-imperiled heroines in black-and-white serials during the 1940s.
Life and work
She was born Katharine Gratten Aldridge in Tallahassee, Florida, and grew up in Lyells, Virginia. She attended her first year of high school in Westminster, Maryland, before enrolling in St. Mary's Female Seminary (now St. Mary's College of Maryland) in St. Mary's City, Maryland. While at St. Mary's, Kay acted in plays, played basketball, and was a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.  As a model she was seen on the covers of magazines such as Life, Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook and Look in the 1930s. Contemporary artist Anne Taintor used advertisements featuring Aldridge as the base for a number of her pieces. Her film career began in 1937 with an uncredited role in Vogues of 1938. In the following couple of years she had a number of minor and largely decorative roles while credited as Katherine Aldridge. It was reported that she was among the actresses screen tested for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind.
The roles for which she became best known began in 1942 with the serial Perils of Nyoka, made by the company Republic Pictures, which specialised in serials of the type that had dramatic cliffhanger scenes at the end of each episode. Now credited as Kay Aldridge, she played the character Nyoka Gordon, who confronts a host of villains while seeking her father, who was lost on an expedition in Africa. Further classic serial heroine roles followed with titles such as Daredevils of the West in 1943 and Haunted Harbor in 1944. She retired from acting in 1945.
Aldridge was married three times: to Arthur Cameron from 1945 to 1954; to Richard Derby Tucker from 1956 until his death in 1979; and lastly to Harry Nasland until his death in 1988. In her later years she lived in Camden, Maine, and was a locally renowned hostess, often sitting 10 or more people at dinner and regaling them with stories and laughter. She was exceptionally kind and gracious, often inviting travelers from downtown Camden to her home to see the spectacular view of Penobscot Bay and Curtis Island.
Aldridge's oldest daughter, Melissa Brumder of New York, died just before her. Aldridge died of a heart attack in Rockport, Maine. She was survived by a daughter, Carey Cameron Ferrero; two sons, Scott and Arthur Cameron (Arthur now deceased); a stepdaughter, Minnie Tucker Biggs, and two stepsons, Richard and Samuel Tucker.
- Merrill T McCord, Perils of Kay Aldridge: life of the serial queen, pub. Alhambra Publishers, (1979, Washington, D.C)
- Kay Aldridge at the Internet Movie Database
- Kay Aldridge, Queen of the Serials and St. Mary’s Graduate, St. Mary's College of Maryland Archive
- Anne Taintor
- "Kay Aldridge, 77, Actress Until 1945", The New York Times, January 21, 1995
- Kay Aldridge at AllMovie
- Heroine of the month at Serial Experience
- Article on serials at Images journal
- Serial heroines article at Classic Images
- New York Times article featuring interview with Kay Aldridge