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The Kaye Ballard Appreciation Thread!

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This is quite amazing! Kaye's audition tape for Mame! Kaye sings "If He Walked into My Life" (twice) and "Open a New Window." She sounds fantastic. Hearing this it's clear why Kaye was a finalist for the role. I'm still surprised she never did it in stock. Before The Mothers-In-Law, Kaye typically played sophisticated women. Maybe she become too identified with the Kaye Buell persona for someone to offer her Mame in a smaller production. Or perhaps she was offered and declined because she didn't think anyone would believe she resided on Beekman Place like she was told when she didn't get the original production.





It seems like almost everything Kaye did on stage was recorded. Does anyone know if either of her productions of Gypsy have a recording floating out there? We also still have to find any Ann Sothern Gypsy or Mame recordings and, of course, the Holy Grail: a full recording of Lucy in Wildcat.

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Yes, she would have been a wonderful Mame with her beautiful over-the-topness; but I keep thinking of Kaye Buell during these recordings. If she ever performed as Mame, I'd be expecting her to growl at Vera or throw something at Beauregard or constantly try to feed Patrick veal parmesan and other Kaye Buell things.

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  • 1 year later...

New interview with Kaye. A new Kaye memoir is coming!


Following the success of her 2006 memoir “How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years,” Kaye Ballard is currently working on a second autobiographical volume, tentatively titled “The First 90 Years are the Hardest.”


“It will be more in-depth about the people I’ve worked with in show business,” said Ballard, who turns 90 on Nov. 20. “It should be out next year.”


With a background dating back to vaudeville and radio and extending to theater, nightclubs, film and television, Ballard has done it all. But this year, she officially retired from performing after her sold-out “Going out of Business” farewell show in March in Palm Springs.


“I may still do the occasional benefit show, but that was my last professional performance,” Ballard said. “I held it at a movie theater, where I first developed a love for entertaining, so that seemed appropriate.”


In “The Girl Most Likely,” her first film in 1958 filled with music and dance numbers, Ballard was inspired by the cast and crew.


“Choreographer Gower Champion would show Jane Powell a routine and she could do it immediately,” recalled Ballard. “Seeing other actors learn so quickly was great training for me.”


During her second film, six years later, Ballard worked with Shelley Winters with whom she became close friends.


“Later, when (Winters) got a role in ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ Shelley used my pool to practice swimming underwater because the studio wouldn’t let her rehearse until they started shooting,” Ballard said. “She was a great swimmer, but ruined all my flashlights by swimming with them.”


Another long-time friendship developed between Ballard and Eve Arden when the pair starred in “The Mothers-in-Law” in the late ‘60s.


“Eve was a joy to work with and we never had an unpleasant moment,” Ballard recalled. “She could read a script once and know it almost completely.”


Despite the show’s high ratings, a contractual dispute led to its cancellation after just two seasons.


“Roger C. Carmel played my husband and was the joy of my professional life,” Ballard said. “But male ego got in the way. Our contracts stated we would all get an extra $250 per episode for the second season, but when we didn’t, Roger bumped heads with Desi Arnaz who was the executive producer and director. The rest of us gave in, but Roger refused to on principle and was replaced with Richard Deacon for the second season. After working on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ Richard acted as though ‘The Mothers-in-Law’ was beneath him.”


Ballard remained friends with Arnaz and his wife, Lucille Ball, and still lives in the Rancho Mirage home near Palm Springs once owned by Ball and Arnaz, which Ballard purchased in 1970, a decade after the celebrity couple divorced.


“Lucy would come over often and talk about Desi, who I don’t think she ever got over” Ballard explained. “She was a tough, strong woman, and not like her TV character at all.”


Ballard never married, but says she has no regrets.


“I was engaged four times, but couldn’t give my all to a marriage (and didn’t want) children unless I could give them my complete attention,” Ballard explained. “But I’ve got to meet so many great people because of my career. Who could regret that?”


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  • 2 weeks later...

Kaye had quite the all star birthday celebration.


Stage and TV star Kaye Ballard is one of the Coachella Valley’s best-loved celebrities, as indicated by the hundreds of Facebook birthday wishes she received last weekend even though she doesn’t belong to Facebook!

A remarkable assemblage of old Hollywood turned out for her 90th birthday party Friday at her favorite bakery, Frankie's Old World Italian Bakery, hidden in the bowels of Perez Road in Cathedral City. Her long-time friend, Clark Bason, threw the intimate party with celebrity guests including Carol Channing, Gavin MacLeod, Lucie Arnaz and her husband, Larry Luckinbill, Peter Marshall, Mimi Hines, Donna McKechnie, and dozens of friends and family, including her cousin Paul Bellardo, Myvanwy Jenn, Harold Matzner, Jerry and Barbara Keller, and Hal Wingo, founding editor of People Magazine, with his delightful wife, Paula.

Michael Orland, who was Kaye’s music director before he became the pianist for “American Idol,” accompanied all of the celebs except MacLeod (who had to leave early to star in his Coachella Valley Repertory show, “Happy Hour”) on tribute numbers to Kaye.

Arnaz went to the great length of literally blowing the dust off the sheet music of what she said was the theme song of Kaye’s ’60s sit-com, “The Mothers-In-Law,” which was executive produced and directed by her father, Desi Arnaz. Then she sang the little-known lyrics to the theme song, which obviously were written specifically for Kaye’s birthday. Really funny.

Channing provided another highlight by performing her classic sketch about Cecilia Sisson, the silent film star who couldn’t make the transition to talkies because every time she makes the “s” sound, she whistles. It was brilliant when she performed it on the old “Andy Williams Show” and it was hilarious when she did it Friday at age 94.

Kaye got laughs with her own bit and said afterwards, “It was the happiest I’ve ever been because I felt like everybody was wonderful.”


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Myvanwy Jenn????

In Palm Springs once, I attended the gala opening of a pet supply store that Kaye attended.  The local news had a correspondent there who was poised to do a live-feed during the news (must have been a slow news day in PS) and was going to interview Kaye.  As they're both standing there waiting for the cue, this bimbo says to Kaye "Have you ever done anything that people would know about that I can mention in your introduction?"  I'll never forget the look on Kaye's face, something akin to the expression she had on Mothers In Law just before she would say "Oh, REALLY?".

I also attended Kaye's "Farewell" show and sat right behind Miss Channing.  The latter half of the show featured Kaye's performer friends doing their bits.  It seemed like it came as a surprise to Carol who did her Cecilia Sisselman bit letter-perfect but preceded it with "If I had known you were going to ask me to perform, I would have worn my LASHES!"

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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Has anyone here ordered Kaye's four CD set from her website? I see the link is still active, so I'm assuming it's still being offered as advertised on the MPI DVDs.

I have a couple of hers (and they're WUNDAFUL) but I don't remember where I got them (currently in storage so I couldn't even glance at them to tell you, otherwise I'd be happy to!). :blink:


Kaye is still active so I see no reason why she wouldn't still be hawking her wares!! :lucywow:

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