Kay Medford

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Kay Medford
File:Kay Medford 1963.JPG
Kay Medford (1963)
Born Margaret Kathleen Regan
(1919-09-14)September 14, 1919
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 10, 1980(1980-04-10) (aged 60)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1942-1980 (her death)

Kay Medford (September 14, 1919[1] – April 10, 1980) was an American character actress and comedienne.

Life and career

She was born Margaret Kathleen Regan in 1919[2] in New York City to James and Mary Regan, first-generation Irish-American parents. She was orphaned in her teens. She adopted the name "Kay Medford" professionally, and began her career after graduating from high school and working as a nightclub waitress.

She was the original "Mama" in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway, garnering excellent reviews, but lost the film role to Maureen Stapleton. Medford appeared in the Warner Bros. rock and roll film, Jamboree (1957).[3] She made her Broadway debut in 1951 in the musical Paint Your Wagon.[4]

She was cast in Carousel, before she appeared onstage in Funny Girl[4] as the mother of Fanny Brice (played by Barbra Streisand); for this performance she was nominated for a 1964 Tony Award for Featured Actress (Musical),[5] and when she repeated the role in the 1968 film adaptation, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Her many film credits included roles in A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Rat Race (1960), BUtterfield 8 (1960), Ensign Pulver (1964), A Fine Madness (1966), The Busy Body (1967), Angel in My Pocket (1969), Twinky (1969), Fire Sale (1977), and Windows (1980).[3]

Medford was cast in guest-starring roles on various television series, including Decoy, To Rome With Love, The Partridge Family, Barney Miller, and The Dean Martin Show. She co-starred in the 1968-1969 ABC series That's Life.[3]


Kay Medford never married. She died from cervical cancer in New York City in 1980, aged 60.[6]


  1. Margaret K. Regan genealogy profile #1 (ship manifest); familysearch.org; accessed November 20, 2014.
  2. Her age had been misreported as 1914 and 1920 for many years.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kay Medford at the Internet Movie Database
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kay Medford at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. Stevenson, Isabelle; Somlyo, Roy A., eds. (2001). The Tony Award (revised ed.). Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. p. 50. ISBN 0-325-00294-0. 
  6. Obituary, The Sun Journal, April 11, 1980 (archived); accessed October 17, 2014.

External links