Peggy Cass
Peggy Cass 1973.JPG
Cass in 1973
Mary Margaret Cass

(1924-05-21)May 21, 1924
DiedMarch 8, 1999(1999-03-08) (aged 74)
New York City, U.S.
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • game show panelist
  • announcer
Years active1949–1997
Carl Fisher
(m. 1948; div. 1965)

Eugene Feeney
(m. 1979)

Mary Margaret "Peggy" Cass (May 21, 1924 – March 8, 1999) was an American actress, comedian, game show panelist, and announcer.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for her performance in the 1958 film Auntie Mame.

Early life

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Cass attended Cambridge Latin School and became interested in acting as a member of the drama club. However, throughout her entire time at the school, she never had a speaking part in any of the club's productions. After graduating, she spent most of the 1940s in search of an acting career. She received acting training at HB Studio[1] in New York City and eventually landed Jan Sterling's role in a traveling production of Born Yesterday.

Stage and film

Cass made her Broadway debut in 1949 with the play Touch and Go. Remembered today primarily as a regular panelist on the long-running To Tell the Truth, she played Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame on Broadway and in the film version (1958), a role for which she won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress, and later received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[2]

She was cast as "First Woman" in the nine-member ensemble for the 1960 Broadway revue A Thurber Carnival, adapted by James Thurber from his own works. [3] She played several characters throughout the performance including: the mother in "The Wolf at the Door", the narrator of "The Little Girl and the Wolf", a nameless American tourist (who insisted Macbeth was a murder mystery), Miss Alma Winege in "File and Forget" (who wanted to ship Mr. Thurber 36 copies of Grandma Was a Nudist which he did not order), Mrs. Preble in "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife", Lou in "Take Her Up Tenderly" (who was helping make old poetry more cheerful), and Walter Mitty's wife.[3]

In 1961, she played Mitzi Stewart in the movie Gidget Goes Hawaiian. In 1964, she starred as First Lady Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield in the mock-biographical novel First Lady: My Thirty Days in the White House. The book, written by Auntie Mame author Patrick Dennis, included photographs by Cris Alexander of Cass, Dody Goodman, Kaye Ballard and others who portrayed the novel's characters.[4]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she succeeded other actresses in Don't Drink the Water (as Marion Hollander) and in Neil Simon's Plaza Suite as well as played Mollie Malloy in two revival runs of The Front Page. She also appeared in the 1969 film comedy If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. In the 1980s, she returned to the stage in 42nd Street and in the 1985 run of The Octette Bridge Club.[2]

Television and stage

This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.Find sources: "Peggy Cass" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2015)

According to Jack Paar, speaking in retrospect, he felt he may have ruined Cass's Oscar chances by lobbying too much for her on his enormously popular television series The Tonight Show.[citation needed] Cass filled in as announcer for Paar's late night talk show that aired in the 1970s on ABC.

Peggy Cass (left) with James Thurber and Joan Anderson in A Thurber Carnival (1960)
Peggy Cass (left) with James Thurber and Joan Anderson in A Thurber Carnival (1960)

In 1987, Cass was featured in the early Fox sitcom Women in Prison. Aside from sitcoms, she played the role of H. Sweeney on the NBC afternoon soap opera The Doctors from 1978 to 1979.

in addition to her work with Paar, Cass's notable television work included appearances on many game shows, mainly on shows based in New York City. She was a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth from 1960 through its 1990 revival, appearing in most episodes in the 1960s and 1970s.[5] She was also a panelist on the pilot of the 1960s version of Match Game. On Truth and other series, she often displayed near-encyclopedic knowledge of various topics, and would occasionally question the logic of some of the "facts" presented on the program. Cass made several appearances on the $10,000 & $20,000 Pyramid hosted by Dick Clark from 1973 to 1980, as well as the nighttime version which was titled The $25,000 Pyramid (1974–1979), hosted by her friend Bill Cullen. All three of these versions were taped in New York City. She also appeared in the late 1970s on Shoot for the Stars hosted by Geoff Edwards, another game show that partnered contestants with celebrities, also filmed in New York City.

In 1983, she appeared in the New Amsterdam Theatre Company's concert staging of Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's One Touch of Venus as Mrs. Kramer, with Susan Lucci as her daughter, as well as Lee Roy Reams, Ron Raines, and Paige O'Hara as the titular Venus. In the spring of 1991, she participated in a concert staging of Cole Porter's Fifty Million Frenchmen at New York City's French Institute/Alliance Francaise as Mrs. Gladys Carroll, singing Porter's "The Queen of Terre Haute".[6][7]

Peggy Cass appeared on the first episode pilot of Major Dad on September 17, 1989.[8] She portrayed Esther Nettleton, a civilian secretary working on the Marine base for Maj. John "Mac" MacGillis.

Personal life and death

On March 8, 1999, Cass died of heart failure in New York City at the age of 74 at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.[9] She was survived by her second husband, Eugene Michael Feeney (1924–2013), a former Jesuit priest and educator. She had no children.


Year Title Role Notes
1952 The Marrying Kind Emily Bundy Uncredited
1958 Auntie Mame Agnes Gooch
1961 Gidget Goes Hawaiian Mitzi Stewart
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Edna Ferguson
1969 Age of Consent His Wife
1970 Paddy Irenee


Year Title Role(s) Notes Ref.
1945 The Doughgirls performer [10]
1949 Touch and Go Moonbeam / Olivia / Second Sister Broadway debut [11]
1950 The Live Wire Liz Fargo [12]
1952 Bernardine Helen [13]
1956 Auntie Mame Agnes Gooch [14]
1960 A Thurber Carnival performer [15]
1963 Children From Their Games Vera von Stobel [16]
1968 Don't Drink the Water Marion Hollander [17]
1969 The Front Page Mollie Malloy [18]
1970 Plaza Suite Karen Nash / Muriel Tate / Norma Hubley [19]
1979 Once a Catholic Mother Basil [20]
1981 42nd Street Maggie Jones [21]
1983 Agnes of God Mother Miriam Ruth [22]
1985 The Octette Bridge Club Lil [23]

Awards and nominations



  1. ^ HB Studio Alumni, Accessed March 30, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Peggy Cass at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. ^ a b Thurber, James (1962). A Thurber Carnival. New York: Samuel French, Inc. OCLC 154260496.
  4. ^ Staff (August 7, 1964). "Also Current". Time. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2007.
  5. ^ Akers, Marshall (August 22, 2007). "To Tell the Truth". University of Georgia New Media Institute. Archived from the original on May 2, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2007.
  6. ^ "Cole Porter / Fifty Million Frenchmen". Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  7. ^ Fifty Million Frenchmen 1991 Studio Cast Import, Cast Recording (Audio CD). ASIN B0000030H8.
  8. ^ Pilot, Major Dad, retrieved March 4, 2022
  9. ^ Peggy Cass, 74, an Actress; Won Tony as Agnes Gooch, The New York Times; accessed October 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Auntie Mame Tony-Winner, Peggy Cass, Dies at 74". Playbill. March 10, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  11. ^ "Touch and Go – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  12. ^ "The Live Wire – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  13. ^ "Bernardine – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  14. ^ "Auntie Mame – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  15. ^ "Peggy Cass in the stage production A Thurber Carnival". NYPL Digital Collections. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Theater: Comedy by Irwin Shaw; 'Children From Their Games' at Morosco Martin Gabel Appears With Peggy Cass". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  17. ^ "Don't Drink the Water – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  18. ^ "The Front Page – Broadway Play – 1969 Revival | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  19. ^ Barnes, Clive (March 22, 1970). "The Theater: 'Plaza Suite' Revisited". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  20. ^ Kerr, Walter (October 11, 1979). "Stage: From Britain, 'Once a Catholic'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  21. ^ "42nd Street – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  22. ^ "Agnes of God – Broadway Play – 1983-1984 Tour | IBDB". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  23. ^ Rich, Frank (March 6, 1985). "STAGE: FAMILY PORTRAIT, 'OCTETTE BRIDGE CLUB'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
Esther Nettleton