by Maane Khatchatourian, Variety.com
She had battled emphysema in the late 1990s.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary actress and long-time friend and client, Polly Bergen,” her publicist Judy Katz said in a statement. “She died peacefully at her home in Southbury, Conn. this morning at 11:10 a.m., surrounded by her family, long-time personal manager, Jan McCormack and close friends.”
Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as Helen Morgan on the 1950s anthology series “Playhouse 90.” She was a regular in TV movies and miniseries in the 1980s, most notably in the 1983 epic “The Winds of War” and the 1988 sequel, “War and Remembrance,” for which she was nominated for a best supporting actress Emmy .in 1989. She was also the star of her own short-lived NBC variety series “The Polly Bergen Show,” which ran from 1957 to 1958.
She starred opposite Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in her first movie, “At War With the Army.” She later joined them in two more comedies, “That’s My Boy” and “The Stooge.”
Bergen was cast as the first female U.S. president in 1964’s “Kisses for My President.” Among her other films was “Move Over, Darling” (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner, Susan Seidelman’s 1987 “Making Mr. Right,” and John Waters’ 1990 “Cry-Baby,” with Johnny Depp.
Most recently, she played Felicity Huffman’s mother on “Desperate Housewives” and the mistress of Tony Soprano’s late father on “The Sopranos.”
The multi-hyphenate star was also a prolific singer and theater star. She released nearly a dozen albums throughout her career.
Bergen made her Broadway debut in the revue “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac” and received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Carlotta Campion in “Follies” in 2001.
During the 1950s, she became a regular on the popular game show “To Tell the Truth,” emceed by Bud Collyer, from 1956 to 1961.