September 18, 1927
|Died||October 19, 2006 (aged 79)|
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
(m. 1966/1967; died 1992)
Kirk was born in Syracuse, New York, although some sources state her birthplace as Plainfield, New Jersey. She contracted polio as a child, which resulted in health problems for the rest of her life. Kirk grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and graduated from Battin High School.
As a teenager, Kirk moved to New York City to study acting and changed her last name from Kirkegaard to Kirk. She began her career on Broadway before embarking on a television and film career. Among 1949 stage appearances were My Name is Aquilon in New York and the road company of Present Laughter before beginning her long-term contract with Samuel Goldwyn in Hollywood that summer.
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 (1953). Her most notable television role was opposite Peter Lawford in The Thin Man (1957–1959), wherein they played Nick and Nora Charles. A newspaper columnist described what distinguished Kirk's role in the program: "[I]t's her brains that keep her flying high on 'The Thin Man' series."
She also appeared with Jerry Lewis in his 1957 film The Sad Sack and 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 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.
Kirk's marriage to television producer and screenwriter Warren Bush was announced in the press in early 1967, and lasted until his death in 1992. A Democrat, she attended the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California.
On October 19, 2006, Kirk died of a cerebral aneurysm at age 79 in Woodland Hills, California. She was buried with her husband Warren Bush at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
|1950||Our Very Own||Zaza|
|1950||A Life of Her Own||Jerry|
|1950||Two Weeks with Love||Valerie Stresemann|
|1950||Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone||Kay|
|1951||Three Guys Named Mike||Kathy Hunter|
|1952||Just This Once||Young Lover on Ferry||Uncredited|
|1952||About Face||Alice Wheatley|
|1952||She's Working Her Way Through College||Co-ed||Uncredited|
|1952||The Iron Mistress||Ursula de Varamendi|
|1952||Stop, You're Killing Me||Nurse||Uncredited|
|1953||House of Wax||Sue Allen|
|1953||Crime Wave||Ellen Lacey|
|1953||Thunder Over the Plains||Norah Porter|
|1954||River Beat||Judy Roberts|
|1955||Canyon Crossroads||Katherine Rand|
|1956||Johnny Concho||Mary Dark|
|1956||Back from Eternity||Louise Melhorn|
|1957||That Woman Opposite||Eve Atwood|
|1957||The Sad Sack||Major Shelton|
|1952||The Philco Television Playhouse||Dolly||1 episode|
|1952||Tales of Tomorrow||Irene Chappell||1 episode|
|1952–1956||Studio One||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1953||World by the Tail||TV movie|
|1953||Armstrong Circle Theatre||1 episode|
|1953||The United States Steel Hour||Betty Lou||1 episode|
|1953–1954||Lux Video Theatre||2 episodes|
|1953–1954||Goodyear Television Playhouse||Girl||3 episodes|
|1953–1954||The Web||Meg Loomis||2 episodes|
|1953–1957||Robert Montgomery Presents||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1954||Your Show of Shows||1 episode|
|1955||Appointment with Adventure||(CBS anthology series), 1 episode|
|1955||Playwrights '56||Girl Friend||1 episode|
|1955||Letter to Loretta||Jess Blackston||1 episode|
|1955||The Red Buttons Show||Various Characters||Unknown episodes|
|1955–1956||Climax!||Various Characters||3 episodes|
|1956||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Barbara Hunter||1 episode|
|1956||Celebrity Playhouse||Laurie Westbrook||2 episodes|
|1956||Playhouse 90||Nancy Tennant||1 episode|
|1956–1957||The Ford Television Theatre||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1957||The Errol Flynn Theatre||2 episodes|
|1957||The 20th Century Fox Hour||Barbara Sherwood||1 episode|
|1957–1959||The Thin Man||Nora Charles||72 episodes|
|1958||The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford||Herself||1 episode|
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||Ann Bagley||1 episode|
|1960||The Twilight Zone||Victoria West||Episode: "A World of His Own"|
|1970||The F.B.I.||Nora Tobin||1 episode, (final appearance)|
|1959||Emmy Award||Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series||The Thin Man||Nominated|
- "Murray's Niece Appears in Film", Courier News, October 25, 1950. Accessed February 9, 2022, via Newspapers.com. "A niece of Police Capt. and Mrs. Patrick J. Murray. 7 Jefferson Ave., appears in the motion picture Our Very Own, now showing at the Strand Theater. She is Phyllis Kirk, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kirkgaard of Elizabeth, a graduate of Battin High School in Elizabeth, and a former Conover model."
- "Phyllis Kirk: 1927 - 2006 `House of Wax,' `Thin Man' star". chicagotribune.com. October 23, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 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. October 22, 2006. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
- "Goldwyn Contract for Theatre Ingenue." Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 23 May 1949.
- Scott, Vernon (April 24, 1959). "Phylliss Kirk's Brain Power Keeps Her Flying on Series". The Daily Inter Lake. p. 10. Retrieved April 13, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Vallance, Tom (October 23, 2006). "Phyllis Kirk". The Independent (London). p. 2. Retrieved November 4, 2008.[dead link]
- Wilson, Earl. "A Bachelor Girl is Wed." Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal, 6 January 1967.
- on YouTube
- "'House of Wax' actress Phyllis Kirk dead". arts.abc.net.au. October 23, 2006. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phyllis Kirk.|
- Phyllis Kirk at IMDb
- 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 [http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/ Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen
- Phyllis Kirk discography at Discogs