February 19, 1956 |
Westchester, New York, U.S.
Kathleen Beller (born February 19, 1956) is an American actress. She came to attention after being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Promises in the Dark (1979) and became well known for her role as Kirby Anders on the primetime soap opera Dynasty which she played for two years. She also had a small role in The Godfather Part II and a featured role in The Betsy opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Laurence Olivier.
Beller started her career by appearing in several commercials. She debuted on television in 1971, taking over the role of Liza Walton Sentell in the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow which was originated by Denise Nickerson. She appeared on the show until 1974, when she quit to move from New York City to Los Angeles. After arriving, Don Most arranged for her to get an agent.
Her film debut was a small role in 1974's The Godfather Part II, portraying an actress in a play that the young Vito Corleone and Genco Abbandando attended. Later on she was recognized more for her television work, appearing in TV movies and guest starring in television series, notably the soap Dynasty. She played Betsy in 1978's The Betsy, starring Laurence Olivier, Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. With this role Beller hoped to end her television career and start her film career, as she commented in an October 1977 interview:
- "For a TV actress, getting that first feature film is a major step. So this is very important in my life. But, funnily, getting this part in The Betsy was actually the easiest part I ever got. I did one reading, one lunch to discuss the part with the director (Daniel Petrie) and that was that. I had the part. From now on, if I do any TV at all it will only be good TV. It's interesting how one feature film — and The Betsy isn't even released yet — can make such a difference in a career. On the strength of just being in The Betsy, I am finding it so much easier. Now I go in to read for a movie part, and they know me, the door is at least partly open."
Despite the optimism, the film was panned and Beller soon was forgotten. She blamed this on the contents of her role, complaining it could have been played by anyone.
She soon returned to television work, appearing in TV movies such as Mary White (1977) and Are You in the House Alone? (1978). Beller recalled the exhausting casting procedure of Mary White, which lasted daily for three weeks. Meanwhile, Beller continued a career on the big screen. Following a supporting role in the 1978 musical comedy Movie Movie, she was cast as a cancer victim opposite Marsha Mason in the drama film Promises in the Dark (1979), that brought her a Golden Globe nomination. She spent three months researching the role, and although she later recalled it as one of her favorite roles, the film was a commercial failure. After filming, she chose a "happy, upbeat part" as her next project.
Regardless, in 1981 she co-starred with Mariette Hartley in the psychological thriller, No Place to Hide, which sparked her first adult role. Her character was initially going to be a teenager, but Beller insisted on playing someone more mature. This demand convinced her that she would not be cast, but the film's director allowed her character to be a woman in her early twenties. In an interview to promote the film, Beller admitted that although she was 25 years old at the time, she still had trouble convincing people that she was older than sixteen. The following year, she played the female lead in the fantasy film, The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982). The film was a commercial success, grossing $39 million on a $4 million budget, although Beller later commented that she was dissatisfied with the film.
Beller is perhaps best remembered for her role from 1982 to 1984 as Kirby Anders Colby in the television drama, Dynasty. During her stay on the show, she was "flooded by fans" attention until she suddenly cut her hair short. Beller blamed her departure from the show on the new writers who were hired in 1984. She explained that they had "lost interest in her character and that when her contract ended, they decided not to renew it". Beller herself said that "[she'd] come back if they wanted [her]". She reprised the role for Dynasty: The Reunion in 1991.
After her run on the show ended, she starred again in a made-for-TV thriller, Deadly Messages (1985), which according to the actress herself, differed from her earlier thrillers by "[not taking] itself too seriously". In an interview she explained her tendency to portray victims in films is encouraged by "the color and size of [her] big brown eyes", "the way [she interprets] roles" and "the episodic roles [she] did while [she] was growing up". Her casting in the film was an unusual one: according to the actress, she received a call from her agent about a script, read it immediately, and drove to the studio an hour later, expecting a meeting. When she arrived, however, she was asked if she could start working right away. She took the role because of "the whirlwind casting", and the fact that she had not worked for seven months, since a guest spot on Glitter.
Beller also played Mary Caitlin Callahan on the short-lived school drama, The Bronx Zoo.
In the mid-1980s, Beller announced she wanted to become a midwife, and told a reporter that she had "attended eight births so far". Beller was married to actor Michael Hoit from 1980 to 1986. She has been married to musician Thomas Dolby, since July 2, 1988; they have three children.
|1974||Godfather Part II, TheThe Godfather Part II||Girl in 'Senza Mamma'|
|1978||Betsy, TheThe Betsy||Betsy Hardeman|
|1978||Movie Movie||Angie Popchik|
|1979||Promises in the Dark||Elizabeth "Buffy" Koenig||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|1981||Fort Apache, The Bronx||Theresa|
|1982||Sword and the Sorcerer, TheThe Sword and the Sorcerer||Princess Alana|
|1989||Time Trackers||R.J. Craig|
|1971-74||Search for Tomorrow||Liza Walton Sentell||TV series|
|1975||Baretta||Carla||"The Coppelli Oath"|
|1975||Crime Club||Pam Agostino||TV film|
|1975||Hawaii Five-O||Elena Mendoza||"The Waterfront Steal"|
|1976||Medical Center||Sharon||"You Can't Annul My Baby"|
|1976||At Ease!||Stacy Ramsey||TV short|
|1976||Visions||Ruth Schwartz||"The Great Cherub Knitwear Strike"|
|1977||Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar Man||Little Deer||"To Catch the Eagle"|
|1977||Something for Joey||Jean Cappelletti||TV film|
|1977||Barnaby Jones||Julie Enright||"Run Away to Terror"|
|1977||Mary White||Mary White||TV film|
|1978||Having Babies III||Dawn||TV film|
|1978||Are You in the House Alone?||Gail Osborne||TV film|
|1980||Mother and Daughter: The Loving War||Renie||TV film|
|1980||Rappaccini's Daughter||Beatrice||TV film|
|1981||No Place to Hide||Amy Manning||TV film|
|1981||Mansions of America, TheThe Mansions of America||Maureen O'Brian||TV miniseries|
|1982||Blue and the Gray, TheThe Blue and the Gray||Kathy Reynolds||TV miniseries|
|1982-84||Dynasty||Kirby Anders||Regular role|
|1985||Deadly Messages||Laura Daniels||TV film|
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Mary Carver||"Funeral at Fifty-Mile"|
|1986||Blacke's Magic||Carla Gasparini||"Breathing Room"|
|1987||Cloud Waltzing||Meredith Tolliver||TV film|
|1987-88||Bronx Zoo, TheThe Bronx Zoo||Mary Caitlin Callahan||Main role|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Maria Deschier||"When the Fat Lady Sings"|
|1991||Dynasty: The Reunion||Kirby Anders Colby||TV miniseries|
|1991||Danger Team||Cheryl Singer||TV film|
- "Kathleen Beller's on fast forward" by Mike Hughes, The Santa Fe New Mexican, February 16, 1985. p. D-2
- "Young TV star wants to be young movie star instead" by Dick Kleiner, El Paso Herald-Post, October 20, 1977, p. E-7
- "Kathleen Beller Serious About Her Film Work" by Dick Kleiner, Indiana Gazette, October 21, 1978, p. 6
- "'No Place to Hide' role lets Kathleen Beller act her age" by Jerry Buck, Wilmington Morning Star, March 4, 1981. p. 5C
- "'Deadly Messages' Places Beller In Jeopardy Again" by Bob Michals, The Palm Beach Post, February 21, 1985.