Kirk as Nora Charles with Peter Lawford in The Thin Man, 1957.
September 18, 1927
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 19, 2006
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Warren Bush (? - 1992)|
Phyllis Kirk (September 18, 1927 - October 19, 2006) was an American actress.
Early life and career
Born Phyllis Kirkegaard in Syracuse, New York (some sources state Plainfield, New Jersey), she contracted polio as a child which resulted in health problems for the rest of her life. As a teen, she moved to New York City to study acting and changed her last name to "Kirk". She began her career on Broadway before embarking on a television and film career.
Kirk is best known for her many roles throughout the 1950s. She appeared with Vincent Price in the 3-D horror film House of Wax in 1953. Her most notable television role was opposite Peter Lawford in The Thin Man (1957—1959), where they played Nick and Nora Charles. She also appeared with Jerry Lewis in his 1957 film The Sad Sack, with Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg, and Rod Steiger in the 1956 film Back from Eternity. Kirk was a regular on The Red Buttons Show and appeared as a guest on some television programs, including an episode of The Twilight Zone ("A World of His Own").
As her acting career slowed down, Kirk began serving as an activist for various social causes. She vocally opposed death row inmate Caryl Chessman's death sentence and visited Chessman in prison until his execution in 1960. After the Watts Riots in 1965, she funded preschool programs for underprivileged families in South Los Angeles. She also granted interviews and wrote for the American Civil Liberties Union newspaper. Kirk made her last onscreen appearance in a 1970 episode of The F.B.I. before leaving show business altogether to enter public relations. She worked as a publicist for CBS News, and retired in 1992.
|1950||Our Very Own||Zaza|
|A Life of Her Own||Jerry|
|Two Weeks with Love||Valerie Stresemann|
|Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone||Kay, Malone's Secretary|
|1951||Three Guys Named Mike||Kathy Hunter|
|1952||Just This Once||Young Lover on Ferry||Uncredited|
|About Face||Alice Wheatley|
|The Iron Mistress||Ursula de Varamendi|
|Stop, You're Killing Me||Nurse||Uncredited|
|1953||House of Wax||Sue Allen|
|Thunder Over the Plains||Norah Porter|
|1954||Crime Wave||Ellen Lacey||Alternative title: The City is Dark|
|River Beat||Judy Roberts|
|1955||Canyon Crossroads||Katherine Rand|
|1956||Johnny Concho||Mary Dark|
|Back from Eternity||Louise Melhorn|
|1957||That Woman Opposite||Eve Atwood||Alternative title: City After Midnight|
|The Sad Sack||Major Shelton|
|1952||The Philco Television Playhouse||Dolly||1 episode|
|Tales of Tomorrow||1 episode|
|1952–1956||Studio One||Various roles||4 episodes|
|1953||World by the Tail||Television movie|
|Armstrong Circle Theatre||1 episode|
|The United States Steel Hour||Betty Lou||1 episode|
|1953–1954||Lux Video Theatre||2 episodes|
|Goodyear Television Playhouse||Girl||3 episodes|
|The Web||Meg Loomis||2 episodes|
|1953–1957||Robert Montgomery Presents||Various roles||4 episodes|
|Your Show of Shows||1 episode|
|1955||Appointment with Adventure (CBS anthology series)||1 episode|
|Playwrights '56||Girl friend||1 episode|
|Letter to Loretta||Jess Blackston||1 episode|
|The Red Buttons Show||Regular performer||Unknown episodes|
|1955–1956||Climax!||Various roles||3 episodes|
|1956||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Barbara Hunter||1 episode|
|Celebrity Playhouse||Laurie Westbrook||2 episodes|
|Playhouse 90||Nancy Tennant||1 episode|
|1956–1957||The Ford Television Theatre||Various roles||4 episodes|
|1957||The Errol Flynn Theatre||2 episodes|
|The 20th Century Fox Hour||Barbara Sherwood||1 episode|
|1957–1959||The Thin Man||Nora Charles||72 episodes|
|May 22, 1958||The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford||Herself||1 episode|
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||Ann Bagley||1 episode|
|The Twilight Zone||Victoria West||Episode: "A World of His Own"|
|1970||The F.B.I.||Nora Tobin||1 episode|
|1959||Emmy Award||Nominated||Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series||The Thin Man|
- "Phyllis Kirk: 1927 - 2006 `House of Wax,' `Thin Man' star". chicagotribune.com. 2006-10-23. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Weaver, Tom (2001). I was a Monster Movie Maker: Conversations with 22 SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 0-7864-1000-0.
- Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 395. ISBN 1-55783-551-9.
- "'House of Wax' actress Kirk dies at 79". usatoday.com. 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- Vallance, Tom (2006-10-23). "Phyllis Kirk". The Independent (London). p. 2. Retrieved 2008-11-04.[dead link]
- "'House of Wax' actress Phyllis Kirk dead". arts.abc.net.au. 2006-10-23. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phyllis Kirk.|
- Phyllis Kirk at the Internet Movie Database
- Phyllis Kirk at the Internet Broadway Database
- Phyllis Kirk at Find a Grave
- Obituary on the Los Angeles Daily News
- Freedom From Fear at This I believe
- Heroine in the "House" on The Astounding B Monster
- Phyllis Kirk at Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen