Obituaries | Polly Bergen, actress and singer, dies at 84

Polly Bergen, who won accolades as a film, television and stage actress as well as a singer, has died.

Polly Bergen

Bergen died from natural causes Sept. 20 at her home in Southbury, Conn., surrounded by family and close friends, said her publicist Judy Katz. Bergen was 84.

Born Nellie Paulina Burgin, she converted to Judaism in 1956 after marrying Hollywood talent agent Freddie Fields. The couple adopted two children.

Bergen won an Emmy in 1957 for Best Single Performance, playing the title role in “The Helen Morgan Story,” part of the anthology series “Playhouse 90.” She also performed on Broadway and sang on the radio and in nightclubs.

She had a leading role in the 1962 film “Cape Fear” as the wife of a lawyer (portrayed by Gregory Peck) who is stalked by a psychopath (Robert Mitchum).

Later in her career, Bergen received a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 2001 Broadway revival of “Follies.” She also appeared on the popular television dramas “Desperate Housewives” and “The Sopranos.”

Bergen succeeded on the business side as well: In the mid-1960s, she began selling a line of  cosmetics that she later sold to Faberge. She also published three advice books. — jta