February 28, 1944
Carole "Kelly" Bishop (born February 28, 1944) is an American actress and dancer, best known for her roles as matriarch Emily Gilmore on the series Gilmore Girls and as Marjorie Houseman, the mother of Jennifer Grey's Frances "Baby" Houseman in the film Dirty Dancing. Bishop originated the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line, for which she won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She also starred as Fanny Flowers in the ABC Family short-lived comedy-drama series Bunheads.
Bishop was born on February 28, 1944, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Jane Lenore (née Wahtola) and Lawrence Boden Bishop. She grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she trained to be a ballet dancer, attending the San Jose Ballet School. At 18, she headed to New York City and landed her first job dancing in a year-round ballet company at Radio City Music Hall. Bishop continued to dance in Las Vegas, summer stock and on television until she was cast in 1967 in Golden Rainbow, her first Broadway role.
Bishop's big break came when she was cast as the sexy, hard-edged Sheila in the 1975 Broadway production of A Chorus Line, for which she won the 1976 Tony Award as "Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical)" as well as the 1976 Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Musical". She was also cast in Broadway productions of Six Degrees of Separation, Neil Simon's Proposals, the Tony Award-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Bus Stop.
In film, she was cast opposite to Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky's big-screen drama An Unmarried Woman (1978). In the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, she was originally set for a small role, but took on the much bigger role of Mrs. Houseman when Lynne Lipton, the original actor, fell ill during the first week of shooting.
Bishop went on to play a "mom" to high-profile stars in features: Howard Stern's in the Betty Thomas-directed comedy Private Parts (1997), and Tobey Maguire's in Wonder Boys (2000). Additional feature credits include Ich und Er (USA: Me and Him, 1988), Queens Logic (1991), Café Society (1995), Miami Rhapsody (1995) and Blue Moon (2002). On television, Bishop starred in the Mike Nichols' The Thorns opposite Tony Roberts and Marilyn Cooper. She played Lisa Ann Walter's mother on My Wildest Dreams. She has guest-starred on Kate & Allie, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Murphy Brown.
From 2000 to 2007, Bishop starred in The WB/CW series Gilmore Girls as wealthy New England matriarch Emily Gilmore. She reprised her role in the 2016 miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix. She would later reunite with Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show's creator, on the ABC Family show Bunheads, which was cancelled after the first season.
Following the end of Gilmore Girls, Bishop returned to theater, performing in Becky Shaw at the Second Stage Theatre in 2008 and briefly as the character Evangeline Harcourt in the 2011 revival of Anything Goes alongside Sutton Foster and Joel Grey.
Bishop resides in South Orange, New Jersey. She was married to the TV talk show host Lee Leonard until his death in 2018.
|1966||Step Out of Your Mind||Missy Linden|
|1978||An Unmarried Woman||Elaine Liebowitz|
|1982||O'Hara's Wife||Beth Douglas|
|1987||Dirty Dancing||Marjorie Houseman|
|1988||Me and Him||Eleanor Aramis|
|1993||Six Degrees of Separation||Adele|
|1995||Cafe Society||Mrs. Jelke|
|1997||Private Parts||Ray Stern|
|1999||My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception||Sylvia Wienstein|
|2000||Blue Moon||Peggy's Mother|
|2000||Wonder Boys||Amanda Leer|
|2011||Friends with Kids||Marcy Fryman|
|2011||A Novel Romance||Lily Sparks|
|2014||Saint Janet||Janet Turner|
|1976||Hawaii Five-0||Char||Episode: "Oldest Profession - Latest Price"|
|1981||Advice to the Lovelorn||Rita Borden||TV film|
|1982||Hart to Hart||Laura||Episode: "Hart of Diamonds"|
|1983||The New Odd Couple||Charity||Episode: "Murray's Hot Date"|
|1984||Kate & Allie||Paulette||Episode: "Baby"|
|1985||The Recovery Room||Kaye Brenner||TV film|
|1987||As the World Turns||Grace Wescott Andrews||TV series|
|1988||The Thorns||Ginger Thorn||Main role (12 episodes)|
|1989||One Life to Live||Serena Wyman||1 episode|
|1990||The Baby-Sitters Club||Flora||Episode: "Claudia and the Secret Passage"|
|1992||ABC Afterschool Special||Roxanne Holden||Episode: "Summer Stories: The Mall - Part 1"|
|1992||Law & Order||Marian Borland||Episode: "Intolerance"|
|1992||Murphy Brown||Connie Silverberg||Episode: "Me Thinks My Parents Doth Protest Too Much"|
|1995||All My Children||Freida Landau||TV series|
|1995||My Wildest Dreams||Gloria James||Recurring role (5 episodes)|
|1996||One Life to Live||Dr. Robbins||1 episode|
|2000||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Registrar||Episode: "Slaves"|
|2000–2007||Gilmore Girls||Emily Gilmore||Main role (110 episodes)|
|2008–2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Julia Zimmer||2 episodes|
|2009||Army Wives||Jean Calhoun||Episode: "Operation: Tango"|
|2010||Mercy||Lauren Kempton||4 episodes|
|2010||The Good Wife||Mrs. Kent (voice)||Episode: "VIP Treatment"; uncredited|
|2012–2013||Bunheads||Fanny Flowers||Main role (13 episodes)|
|2015||Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll||Elizabeth||Episode: "Supercalifragilisticjuliefriggingandrews"|
|2015||Flesh and Bone||Mrs. Hawthorn||Episode: "F.U.B.A.R."|
|2015–2016||The Good Wife||Bea Wilson||2 episodes|
|2016||Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life||Emily Gilmore||Main role (4 episodes)|
|2022||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel||Season 4 recurring role|
|1968||Golden Rainbow||Cat-Girl/Dancer||Shubert Theatre|
|1968||Promises, Promises||Clancy's Lounge Patron/Company Nurse||Shubert Theatre|
|1968||Precious Sons||Bea (standby)|
|1971||On the Town||Dance Ensemble||Imperial Theatre|
|1975||A Chorus Line||Sheila||Shubert Theatre |
Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
|1990||Six Degrees of Separation||Kitty/Louisa "Ouisa" Kittredge||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|1996||Bus Stop||Grace Hoylard||Short revival, 29 performances|
|1997||The Last Night of Ballyhoo||Boo Levy||Helen Hayes Theatre |
|1997||Proposals||Annie Robbins||Broadhurst Theatre|
|2011||Anything Goes||Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt||Stephen Sondheim Theatre|
August 9, 2011 - January 15, 2012