Kulp circa 1960s
Nancy Jane Kulp
August 28, 1921
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||February 3, 1991 (aged 69)|
|Resting place||Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania|
Charles M. Dacus
(m. 1951; div. 1961)
|Awards||World War II, Lieutenant Junior Grade, United States Navy: |
–American Campaign Medal
Kulp was born to Marjorie C. (née Snyder) and Robert Tilden Kulp in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was their only child. Kulp's father was a traveling salesman, and her mother was a school teacher and later a principal. The family moved from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, to Miami-Dade County, Florida, sometime before 1935.
In 1943, Kulp graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from Florida State University, then known as Florida State College for Women. She continued her studies for a master's degree in English and French at the University of Miami, where she was a member of the sorority Pi Beta Phi. Early in the 1940s, she also worked as a feature writer for the Miami Beach Tropics newspaper, writing profiles of celebrities such as Clark Gable and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
During the World War II era, Kulp left the University of Miami in 1944 to join the women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve. She obtained the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, and received several decorations while in the service, including the American Campaign Medal. She was honorably discharged from the Reserve in 1946.
In 1951, not long after marrying Charles Malcolm Dacus, Kulp moved to Hollywood, California, to work in MGM's publicity department. Director George Cukor at the studio soon convinced her that she should be an actress, so the same year she began her publicity job at MGM, she also made her film debut as a character actress in The Model and the Marriage Broker. She then appeared in other films, including Shane, Sabrina, and A Star is Born. After working in television on The Bob Cummings Show and on Perry Mason in The Case of the Deadly Toy in 1959 Kulp returned to movies in Forever, Darling, The Three Faces of Eve, The Parent Trap, Who's Minding the Store?, and The Aristocats. In 1966, she appeared as Wilhelmina Peterson in the film The Night of the Grizzly, starring Clint Walker and Martha Hyer.
Kulp in 1955 joined the cast of The Bob Cummings Show (Love That Bob) with Bob Cummings, portraying pith-helmeted neighborhood bird watcher Pamela Livingstone. In 1956, she appeared as a waitress in the episode "Johnny Bravo" of the ABC/Warner Brothers series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker. Kulp played the role of Anastasia in three episodes of the NBC sitcom It's a Great Life in 1955 and 1956. In 1958, she appeared in Orson Welles' little-known pilot episode "The Fountain of Youth" in the television series Colgate Theatre. In 1960, she appeared as Emma St. John in the episode "Kill with Kindness" of the ABC/WB detective series Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan.
Kulp appeared on I Love Lucy in the 1956 episode "Lucy Meets the Queen", performing as an English maid, who shows Lucy and Ethel how to curtsy properly before Queen Elizabeth. Kulp also appeared in episodes of The Real McCoys, Perry Mason ("The Case of the Prodigal Parent", 1958 and "The Case of the Deadly Toy", 1959), The Jack Benny Program ("Don's 27th Anniversary with Jack"), 87th Precinct ("Killer's Choice"), Pete and Gladys, The Twilight Zone (as Mrs. Gann in "The Fugitive"), and The Outlaws ("The Dark Sunrise of Griff Kincaid"). She played a housekeeper in a pilot for The William Bendix Show, which aired as the 1960–1961 season finale of CBS's Mister Ed under the title "Pine Lake Lodge". On the series My Three Sons in 1962, she portrayed a high school math and science teacher in two episodes under different character names, Miss Harris and Miss Fisher.
Shortly after her performances on My Three Sons in 1962, Kulp landed her breakout role as Jane Hathaway, the love-starved, bird-watching, perennial spinster, on the CBS television series The Beverly Hillbillies. In 1967, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her role, and she remained with the show until its cancellation in 1971. In 1978, she appeared on The Love Boat in the episode "Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandit" and she played Aunt Gertrude in the episode "Tony and Julie / Separate Beds / America's Sweetheart". On April 7, 1989, she played a nun in the Quantum Leap season 1 episode "The Right Hand of God". Kulp also appeared on The Brian Keith Show and Sanford and Son.
Kulp was once described as television's most homely girl or, as one reviewer put it, possessing the "face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti, and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season." Others described her as tall and prim and praised her comedic skills.
Politics, academia and retirement
In 1984, after working with the Democratic state committee in her home state of Pennsylvania "on a variety of projects" over a period of years, Kulp ran unopposed as the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district. As an opponent of the Republican incumbent Bud Shuster in a Republican-dominated district, Kulp was the decided underdog. Sixty-two years old at the time, Kulp said some voters might feel her background as an actress was "frivolous"; but she noted that Ronald Reagan had taken the route from screen to politics, and she said anyone who "listens and cares" can do well.
To her dismay, her Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen contacted the Shuster campaign and volunteered to make a radio campaign ad in which he called Kulp "too liberal". Kulp said of Ebsen, "He's not the kindly old Jed Clampett that you saw on the show ... It's none of his business and he should have stayed out of it." She said Ebsen and she "didn't get along because I found him difficult to work with. But I never would have done something like this to him." Garnering 59,449 votes—just 33.6% of the ballots cast in the election—to Shuster's 117,203 votes and 66.4%, she lost. After this, according to her close friends and family, Ebsen was regarded as "persona non grata" to Kulp and she made it clear to people not to bring him up in conversation around her with the exception of interviews related to her time on Hillbillies. In his later years, especially after Kulp's death, Ebsen privately expressed remorse for doing the ad and they only reconciled shortly before Kulp's death.
Kulp married Charles Malcolm Dacus on April 1, 1951, in Dade County, Florida; they divorced in 1961. After her retirement from acting and teaching, she moved first to a farm in Connecticut and later to Palm Springs, California, where she became involved in several charity organizations, including the Humane Society of the Desert, the Desert Theatre League, and United Cerebral Palsy. In 1989, Kulp gave an interview to author and LGBT activist Boze Hadleigh in which she said,
As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it … I'd appreciate it if you'd let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here's how I would ask it: "Do you think that opposites attract?" My own reply would be that I'm the other sort — I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question.
Hadleigh asserts that Kulp was indicating that she was a lesbian.
Kulp was diagnosed with cancer in 1990, for which she received chemotherapy. By 1991, the cancer had spread, and she died on February 3, 1991, aged 69, in Palm Desert, California. Her remains are interred at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
|1951||The Model and the Marriage Broker||Hazel Gingras||Uncredited, Romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor.|
|1952||Steel Town||Dolores||Drama film directed by George Sherman.|
|The Marrying Kind||Edie||Uncredited, Comedy-drama film directed by George Cukor.|
|The Caddy||Emma||Uncredited, Comedy–musical–sports film directed by Norman Taurog.|
|Here Come the Girls||Washwoman||Uncredited, Musical–comedy film directed by Claude Binyon & filmed in technicolor.|
|A Star is Born||Esther's neighbor in rooming house|
|1955||The Shrike||Mrs. Coleman|
|Not as a Stranger||Deirdre|
|You're Never Too Young||Marty's Mother||Martin and Lewis comedy film directed by Norman Taurog.|
|Count Three and Pray||Matty Miller||Western film directed by George Sherman.|
|1956||Anything Goes||A bobby soxer|
|Forever, Darling||Amy||Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz romantic comedy film with fantasy overtones directed by Alexander Hall.|
|1957||Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend||Cleaning Woman||Uncredited, Western film directed by Richard L. Bare.|
|God Is My Partner||Maxine Spelvana||Drama film directed by William F. Claxton and written by Charles F. Royal.|
|The Three Faces of Eve||Mrs. Black|
|Kiss Them for Me||WAVE Telephone Operator|
|1958||The High Cost of Loving||Miss Matthews, Cave's Secretary|
|1959||Five Gates to Hell||Susette||Adventure film written, produced, and directed by James Clavell.|
|1961||The Parent Trap||Miss Grunecker|
|The Last Time I Saw Archie||Miss Willoughby|
|The Two Little Bears||Emily Wilkins||Comedy film directed by Randall Hood.|
|1962||Moon Pilot||Space Flight Nutritionist|
|1963||Who's Minding the Store?||Emily Rothgraber||Jerry Lewis comedy directed by Frank Tashlin.|
|1964||The Patsy||Helen, Theatergoer||Comedy directed by and starring Jerry Lewis.|
|1965||Strange Bedfellows||Aggressive Woman||Comedy film directed by Melvin Frank.|
|1966||The Night of the Grizzly||Wilhelmina Peterson||Western–adventure film directed by Joseph Pevney.|
|1970||The Aristocats||Frou-Frou||Voice, Animated musical adventure-comedy film directed by Wolfgang Reitherman.|
|1954||Lux Video Theatre||Daisy||Episode: "To Each His Own" (S 5:Ep 1)|
|Topper||Guest||Episode: "The Seance" (S 2:Ep 4)|
|December Bride||Louella||Episode: "Lily Hires a Maid" (S 1:Ep 9)|
|1955–1959||The Bob Cummings Show||Pamela Livingstone||Recurring|
|1955||It's a Great Life||Mrs. Bell||Episode: "The Missing Stamp" (S 1:Ep 20)|
|The Life of Riley||Charlotte Lindsay||Episode: "Love Comes to Waldo Binney" (S 4:Ep 4)|
|Svengali and the Blonde||Honorine||Made-for-TV-Movie musical written and directed by Alan Handley.|
|Schlitz Playhouse||Guest||Episode: "Meet Mr. Justice" (S 4:Ep 45)|
|Topper||Mrs. Bandle||Episode: "The Neighbors" (S 2:Ep 35)|
|TV Reader's Digest||Ruth||Episode: "Around the Horn to Matrimony" (S 1:Ep 19)|
|Schlitz Playhouse||Guest||Episode: "The Girl Who Scared Men Off" (S 5:Ep 4)|
|The Life of Riley||Charlotte Lindsay||Episode: "Waldo's Mother" (S 4:Ep 15)|
|It's a Great Life||Gloria||Episode: "The Crystal Ball" (S 2: Ep 12)|
|General Electric Theater||Miss Lamb||Episode: "The Seeds of Hate" (S 4:Ep 11)|
|1956||It's a Great Life||Anastasia||Episode: "Beauty Contest" (S 2:Ep 18)|
|I Love Lucy||Maid||Episode: "Lucy Meets the Queen" (S 5:Ep 15)|
|Navy Log||Guest||Episode: "Web Feet" (S 1:Ep 23)|
|It's a Great Life||Girl||Episode: "Kid Sister" (S 2:Ep 30)|
|Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre||Guest||Episode: "Shoot the Moon" (S 1:Ep 30)|
|December Bride||Florence||Episode: "Lily the Matchmaker" (S 2:Ep 30)|
|Cheyenne||Waitress||Episode: "Johnny Bravo" (S 1:Ep 14)|
|The Gale Storm Show||Helga Petersen||Episode: "Passenger Incognito" (S 1:Ep 3)|
|Our Miss Brooks||Lucretia Hannibal||Recurring|
|The 20th Century Fox Hour||Miss Gillis||Episode: "The Hefferan Family" (S 1:Ep 18)|
|The Red Skelton Show||Witch||Episode: "The Magic Shoes" (S 6:Ep 5)|
|The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet||Nancy||Episode: "The Balloons" (S 5:Ep 9)|
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Nurse||Episode: "Jonathan" (S 2:Ep 10)|
|1957||Date with the Angels||Dolly Cates||Recurring|
|The Thin Man||Desk clerk|
|1958||The Loretta Young Show||Helen||Episode: "Dear Milkman" (S 5:Ep 15)|
|Perry Mason||Backwoods Housekeeper||Episode: "The Case of the Lazy Lover" (S 1:Ep 35)|
|Perry Mason||Sarah Winslow||Episode: "The Case of the Prodigal Parent" (S1:Ep 36)|
|The Real McCoys||Harriet Reynolds||Episode: "The Dancin' Fool" (S 2:Ep 4)|
|77 Sunset Strip||Landlady||Episode: "Casualty" (S 1:Ep 4)|
|1959||December Bride||Librarian||Episode: "The Hi-Fi Show" (S 5:Ep 20)|
|The Dennis O'Keefe Show||Miss Mansfield||Episode: "Teacher's Pest" (S 1:Ep 2)|
|Playhouse 90||Leona||Episode: "A Marriage of Strangers" (S 3:Ep 32)|
|Perry Mason||Katherine Collins||Episode: "The Case of the Deadly Toy" (S 2:Ep 27)|
|Sunday Showcase||Girl at Well||Episode: "The Milton Berle Special" (S 1:Ep 7)|
|1960||Bourbon Street Beat||Emma St. John||Episode: "Kill with Kindness" (S 1:Ep 14)|
|The Gale Storm Show||Gertrude||Episode: "Captain Courageous" (S 4:Ep 22)|
|The Comedy Spot||Guest|
|1961||Shirley Temple's Storybook||Guardian||Episode: "The Little Mermaid" (S 2:Ep 22)|
|Mister Ed||Martha||Episode: "Pine Lake Lodge" (S 1:Ep 25)|
|Pete and Gladys||Miss Hotchkiss||Episode: "Gladys' Political Campaign" (S 1:Ep 16)|
|The Jack Benny Program||Elocution Teacher||Episode: "Don's 27th Anniversary with Jack" (S 11:Ep 13)|
|1962||Outlaws||Jennifer Veasy||Episode: "The Dark Sunrise of Griff Kincaid" (S 2:Ep 13)|
|Pete and Gladys||Vickie||Episode: "Office Wife" (S 2:Ep 24)|
|87th Precinct||Miss Fitzhenry||Episode: "Killer's Choice" (S 1:Ep 23)|
|The Twilight Zone||Agnes Gann||Episode: "The Fugitive" (S 3:Ep 25)|
|The Danny Thomas Show||Mrs. Keltner||Episode: "The P.T.A. Bash" (S 9:Ep 19)|
|The Joey Bishop Show||Guest||Episode: "A Man's Best Friend" (S 1:Ep 21)|
|My Three Sons||Miss Harris||Episode: "Robbie Valentino" (S 2:Ep 21)|
|General Electric Theater||Miss Lamb||Episode: "The Free Wheelers" (S 10:Ep 22)|
|My Three Sons||Miss Fisher||Episode: "The Big Game" (S 2:Ep 24)|
|The Jack Benny Program||Jeanette||Episode: "Alexander Hamilton Show" (S 12:Ep 20)|
|King of Diamonds||Sergeant Vadolski||Episode: "Backlash" (S 1:Ep 22)|
|Hawaiian Eye||Edie Barnes||Episode: "'V' is for Victim"|
|The Comedy Spot||Woman||Episode: "The Soft Touch"|
|Ernestine||Woman||Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Sidney Salkow.|
|The Lucy Show||Jane Corey||Episode: "Lucy Becomes an Astronaut"|
|1962–71||The Beverly Hillbillies||Jane Hathaway||Contract role|
|1963||77 Sunset Strip||Eloise||Episode: "The Checkmate Caper" (S 5:Ep 35)|
|1966||Password||Herself||Game show contestant / Celebrity guest star|
|1968||Petticoat Junction||Jane Hathaway||Episode: "A Cake from Granny"|
|1971||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||Guest||Episode: "Ver-r-r-ry Interesting"|
|1973–74||The Brian Keith Show||Mrs. Gruber||Recurring|
|1975–76||Sanford and Son||May Hopkins||Recurring|
|1978||The Love Boat||Gert||Epispde: "Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandi" (S 2:Ep 6)|
|The Love Boat||Sylvia McTigue||Episode: "The Spider Serenade, The / Next Door Wife / Harder They Fall" (S 3:Ep 15)|
|1981||Aunt Gert||Episode: "Tony and Julie / Separate Beds / America's Sweetheart" (S 4:Ep 27)|
|Return of the Beverly Hillbillies||Jane Hathaway||Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Robert M. Leeds.|
|1983||The Wilder Summer||Camp Director||Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Deborah Reinisch.|
|Fantasy Island||Mrs. Potroy||Episode: "Revenge of the Forgotten / Charo" (S 6:Ep 14)|
|1986||Simon & Simon||Shirley Graham||Episode: "Still Phil After All These Years" (S 6:Ep 3)|
|Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Dr. Claudia Joyce||Episode: "Billy's Lost Weekend" (S 4:Ep 7)|
|1989||Quantum Leap||Sister Sarah||Episode: "The Right Hand of God" (S 1:Ep 4)|
|ABC Afterschool Special||Aurora|
|1980–81||Morning's at Seven||Aaronetta Gibbs||Lyceum Theatre (April 10, 1980 – August 16, 1981)|
Awards and nominations
|1967||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||The Beverly Hillbillies||Jane Hathaway||Nominated|||
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- 1930 U.S. Federal Census Record, viewed on Ancestry.com on June 7, 2010.
- US Federal Census Record, viewed on Ancestry.com on June 7, 2010.
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- "The Parent Trap". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- "Who's Minding the Store?". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- "The Aristocats". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- "The Night of the Grizzly". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
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