Emmy Winner and Singer Polly Bergen Dies at 84

Polly Bergen | Photo Credits: Corbis

Polly Bergen, who starred in the original Cape Fear, died Saturday at the age of 84, The Associated Press reports.

Bergen died at her Southbury, Conn., home from natural causes surrounded by friends and family.

In addition to playing the terrorized wife in 1962's Cape Fear, Bergen was also well known for playing the first female president in Kisses for My President. She won an Emmy in 1958 for the anthology series Playhouse 90and was nominated again in 1989 for supporting actress for the miniseries War and Remembrance. Bergen also earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies.

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During her long career, the actress hosted her own musical-variety series, frequently appeared as a game show panelist on To Tell the Truth, and was an accomplished singer and Broadway star. Bergen also branched out to writing in 1962, releasing the first of three advice books, The Polly Bergen Book of Beauty, Fashion and Charm. The success of the book eventually led to her own cosmetics company.

Most recently, she portrayed Felicity Huffman's mother on Desperate Housewives and the mistress of Tony Soprano's father on The Sopranos.

Bergin is survived by three children, Peter Fields, Kathy Lander and Pamela Fields, as well as three grandchildren.

In memory of Bergen, who was a passionate women's rights activist, her family asks that donations be made to Planned Parenthood in lieu of flowers.