Fay Baker

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Fay Baker
Fay Baker Portrait.jpg
Born Fay Schwager
(1917-01-31)January 31, 1917
New York City, U.S.
Died December 8, 1987(1987-12-08) (aged 70)
Sleepy Hollow, New York, U.S.
Other names Beth Holmes
Years active 1938–1963
Spouse(s) Arthur Weiss
(1940–1965; divorced); 2 children

Fay Baker (born Fay Schwager; January 31, 1917 – December 8, 1987) was an American stage, film and television actress, and a successful author under the pen name Beth Holmes. Her novel, The Whipping Boy, made the Los Angeles Times bestseller list in 1978. She also published, under her own name, My Darling, Darling Doctors.


Fay Baker's career began in New York with roles on Broadway in the early 1940s.[1] She changed her name to Baker (from her mother's family) in 1944 in Another Love Story at New York's Fulton Theatre. She was "discovered" by Alfred Hitchcock in 1946 and given the role of Ethel in Notorious. While the part was minor, she told her daughter that Hitchcock made her stay on the set for the entire film shoot. The director felt that since he was paying her salary, she should be standing by at all times. She claimed she had had a larger role in the film but that much of her work ended up on the cutting room floor.[2]

Baker remained in Hollywood for nearly two decades, acting in two dozen films with star billing in The House on Telegraph Hill (1950).[3] She had one of the leading roles in the 1950 crime drama Double Deal, and later played one of publisher Ethel Barrymore's two daughters trying to seize control of and sell editor Humphrey Bogart's newspaper in the 1952 drama Deadline - U.S.A..

During her California years, she also appeared frequently on television. She is credited with guest parts on 30 different series beginning with Your Show Time in 1949 up to her final performance on Dr. Kildare in 1963. Her roles included comedy sitcoms (Hazel, The Donna Reed Show), drama (Perry Mason), and westerns (Have Gun - Will Travel). In 1958, she made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, playing Marian Newburn in "The Case of the Demure Defendant" and Stephanie Sabin in "The Case of the Perjured Parrot".

Personal life[edit]

Baker married writer/producer Arthur Weiss on August 3, 1940, in New York City. They had two children, her son Jonathan being born in 1950, before divorcing in 1965. While Weiss remained in California working for Irwin Allen, she returned to New York City with her two children and began a new career as an author.

After her son Jonathan died from a drug overdose in 1971, Baker dedicated herself to the topic of how parents enable bad behavior in children. This inspired her most successful novel, The Whipping Boy (1978), which focused on the "emotional abuse" of children.[2] She used the pen name "Beth Holmes" to shield her family from being compared with fictional characters in the novel.

Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and described the experience humorously in her first published book, My Darling, Darling Doctors, in 1975. She lost her 15-year battle with breast cancer on December 8, 1987, at age 70.

TV appearances[edit]

TV Show Role Episode Year
Dr. Kildare Mrs. Tucker A Very Infectious Disease 1963
Hazel Madeleine Van Dyke Number, Please? 1962
The Roaring 20's Carlotta La Salle No Exit 1961
This Is the Life The Sin of Silence 1961
The Ann Sothern Show Miss Norton Pandora 1961
Louise The Roman Hatter 1960
Mildred Holliday Five Year Itch 1959
77 Sunset Strip Caroline Kinares Strange Bedfellows 1961
The Donna Reed Show Hope Donna Goes to a Reunion 1960
Maggie Annie Bradley Unsold Pilot 1960
The David Niven Show Sarah Winter The Promise 1959
Have Gun - Will Travel Mrs. Grayson Lady on the Stagecoach 1959
Perry Mason Stephanie Sabin The Case of the Perjured Parrot 1958
Marian Newburn The Case of the Demure Defendant 1958
M Squad Helen Greville Day of Terror 1958
The Court of Last Resort Mrs. Laura Barclay The Stephen Lowell Case 1958
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Margaret Green Letter Edged in Blackmail 1958
San Francisco Beat Elsie Folger The Jealous Mambo Dancer Case 1958
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Marie Burden Bad Woman 1957
The Adventures of Jim Bowie Charlotte De Vaux A Fortune for Madame 1957
The Ford Television Theatre Laura Van Cleve Singapore 1957
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Sylvia The Girl in the Grass 1957
State Trooper Judith Andrews Weep No More O'Grady 1957
Four Star Playhouse Nadine The Case of Emily Carmeron 1956
Claire Dumont Man in the Cellar 1954
Damon Runyon Theatre Adele Salisbury Old Em's Kentucky Home 1955
The Loretta Young Show Pat Wadlington Let Columbus Discover You 1955
The Millionaire Margaret Browning The Margaret Browning Story 1955
Rebound Quiet Sunday 1953
Sky King Lucille Bradley Wings of Justice 1952
Cavalcade of America A Romance to Remember 1952
The Doctor The Hiding Place 1952
Dangerous Assignment Countess Todesca The Knitting Needle Story 1952
Fireside Theatre Dinner for Three 1950
Your Show Time The Necklace 1949


Year Film Role Notes
1957 Sorority Girl Mrs. Tanner
She Devil Evelyn Kendall IMDb
1956 Don't Knock the Rock Arlene MacLaine
1955 I Died a Thousand Times Woman in Tropico Lobby (uncredited)
1954 Phffft! Radio Actress as 'Nurse Serena' (uncredited)
1953 Invaders from Mars Mrs. Wilson (uncredited)
The Blue Gardenia Switchboard Monitor (uncredited)
1952 The Star Margaret's sister
Deadline - U.S.A. Alice Garrison Courtney
1951 Reunion in Reno Miss Pearson IMDb
The House on Telegraph Hill Margaret
The Company She Keeps Tilly Thompson
1950 Double Deal Lilly Sebastian
Father of the Bride Miss Bellamy (Stanley's secretary) (uncredited)
Chain Lightning Mrs. Willis
1949 Tell It to the Judge Valerie Hobson
Black Midnight Martha Baxter IMDb
Manhattan Angel Vi Langdon IMDb
Family Honeymoon Fran Wilson (uncredited)
1948 No Minor Vices Mrs. Felton
The Saxon Charm Mrs. Noble (uncredited)
The Gentleman from Nowhere Catherine Ashton
Trapped by Boston Blackie Margie O'Reilly, alias Sandra Doray IMDb
1946 Notorious Ethel


Year Play Role Notes
1946 Wonderful Journey Julia Farnsworth Dec 25, 1946 - Jan 1, 1947
1944 Violet Crystal Oct 24, 1944 - Nov 11, 1944
1943 Another Love Story Celia Hale Oct 12, 1943 - Jan 8, 1944
1942 The Sun Field Mildred Deagon Dec 9, 1942 - Dec 12, 1942
1942 Journey to Jerusalem The Greek Woman Oct 5, 1940 - Oct 19, 1940
The Taming of the Shrew Bianca Feb 5, 1940 - Feb 10, 1940
1938 Danton's Death Voice in the Street Nov 2, 1938 - Nov 1938


  1. ^ Fay Baker IBDb profile
  2. ^ a b Baker's personal life
  3. ^ Allmovie.com profile

External links[edit]