“I always wanted to be an actress. My mother told me to get a job as an elevator operator because Dorothy Lamour was discovered that way.” Sally Kellerman
Actress and singer Sally Kellerman is best known for her portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” O'Houlihan on the Robert Altman hit motion picture “MASH” (1970), for which she was handed Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. The role brought her a Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award and a Golden Laurel Award. The blonde leading lady went on to work with Altman in the films “Brewster McCloud” (also 1970), “The Player” (1992), “Prêt-à-Porter” (1994, jointly received a National Board of Review Award) and his protégé Alan Rudolph in “Welcome to L.A.” (1976). She earned a Genie nomination for her work in Nicolas Gessner's “It Rained All Night the Day I Left” (1980). Making her professional acting debut at age 20 with a bit part in “Reform School Girl” (1957), the actress is also known for playing roles in “Boris and Natasha” (1992), “The Lay of the Land” (1997, her debut as a producer), “Bar Hopping” (2000, TV), “Open House” (2004) and “The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club” (2005), to name a few. Kellerman has also guest starred in countless television series, including “The Outer Limits,” “Star Trek,” “Bonanza,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Columbo” and “Providence.” She also played Lise Bockweiss in the TV miniseries “Centennial” (12 episodes, 1978-1979) and supplemented her movie career with voiceover work, singing in nightclubs and as a radio and television narrator.
Kellerman has three adoptive children, Claire and twins Jack and Hannah. She and her first husband, director Rick Edelstein, were together from 1970 to 1975. Married to Jonathan D. Krane in1980, the couple has been separated since 1997. She is close friends with actor Bud Cort, Robert Altman and his wife Kathryn Reed Altman, and John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston.
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of John Helm Kellerman and Edith Baine Kellerman, Sally Claire Kellerman was born on June 2, 1937, in Long Beach, California. She was educated at Hollywood High School and furthered her studies at Los Angeles City College. She later went to New York City to train at the Actor's Studio, where she was guided by well respected acting coach Jeff Corey. Her classmates included Jack Nicholson, Robert Blake, Shirley Knight and Dean Stockwell.
Sally married director/writer Rick Edelstein in 1970, but they divorced in 1975. A year later, she adopted her niece, Claire Krane, when Claire's birth mother relocated to France and Claire's father passed away two days after giving up support for the adoption. On May 11, 1980, Sally married movie producer Jonathan D. Krane. They became estranged in 1997 after having been together for 17 years. Sally and Krane are parents to adoptive twins, Hannah and Jack (born in 1989).
20 year old Sally Kellerman made her feature acting debut in a
minor role in “Reform School Girl” (1957), which was
written and directed by Edward Bernds. She got her next film part
five years later in Newt Arnold's thriller “Hands of a
Stranger” (1962). She then supported George Peppard in an
adaptation of Joseph Hayes' novel “The Third Day” and
appeared as a singer in the drama “The Lollipop Cover”
(both 1965). Kellerman debuted on the small screen early in 1960 when
she appeared as a waitress in an episode of the John Forsythe comedy
series “Bachelor Father” called “Kelly and the
College Man.” She continued to land guest spots in many shows,
including “Lock Up” (1961), “Cheyenne”
(1962), “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” (1963),
“My Three Sons” (1963), “The Greatest Show on
Earth” (1964), “12 O’clock High” (2 episodes,
1964-1965), “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” (1965), “Ben
Casey” (1965), “I Spy” (1966), “The Legend of
Jesse James” (1966), “Bonanza” (1966), “Insight”
(1967), “The Invaders” (1967), “Premiere”
(1968), “Hawaii Five-O” (1969) and “Mannix”
(1969). However, she was probably most notable for her performances
in the “The Outer Limits” episodes “The Human
Factor” (1963, as Ingrid Larkin) and “The Bellero Shield”
(1964, as Judith Bellero) and as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in an episode
of “Star Trek” called “Where No Man Has Gone
In 1966, Kellerman joined Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Chamberlain, Larry Kert and Priscilla Lopez in the musical play “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” based on the Truman Capote novella and 1961 film of the same name. The show had four previews on Broadway but never officially opened. Two years later, she was cast with Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda in the dramatic film “The Boston Strangler” (1968) for director Richard Fleischer. It was followed by a role as Jack Lemon's wife, Phyllis Brubaker, in the 1969 romantic comedy “The April Fools,” which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg.
Kellerman's breakthrough screen role arrived in 1970 when she was cast as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” O'Houlihan in the satirical dark comedy movie “MASH,” which was directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., and based on Richard Hooker's novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.” The film won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and nabbed nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kellerman). The actress also picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Laurel Award for Best Comedy Performance, Female for her performance in the film. Starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould as Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre, respectively, “MASH” was a commercial hit. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, the film grossed over $81 million against its budget of $3.5 million and became one of the studio's biggest films of the early 1970's. Kellerman was later offered to reprise her role for the popular television series adaptation “M*A*S*H” (CBS, 1972-1983). The role eventually went to Loretta Swit.
After “MASH,” Kellerman was reunited with Altman in the film “Brewster McCloud” (also 1970), where she portrayed Louise. She also sang “Rock-a-Bay-Baby” for the film’s soundtrack. Following this, Kellerman, who had signed a recording deal with Verve Records at age 18, worked with Lou Adler for her first demo before entering the recording studio to record “Roll With The Feelin,” an album with Decca Records.
Kellerman returned to feature films in 1972 when she costarred with Alan Arkin, Paula Prentiss and Renée Taylor in the comedy “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” which was written by Neil Simon and based on his play. The movie was directed by Gene Saks. The next year, she could be seen playing Anne in director William A. Fraker's horror film “A Reflection of Fear” (opposite Robert Shaw) and Kitty Kopetzky in Howard Zieff's “Slither” (starred James Caan and Peter Boyle) before appearing in Charles Jarrott's failed musical “Lost Horizon.” Playing Sally Hughes in the movie, she became one of the few lead actors in the movie who actually sang their own songs. On the soundtrack, she sang the songs “Reflections” and “The Things I Will Not Miss” (with Maria).
In 1975, Kellerman was reunited with her “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” costar Alan Arkin for the independent comedy “Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins,” which was written by John Kaye and directed by Dick Richards. She also performed “Honkey Tonk Angels” for the film’s soundtrack. The actress next supported Joseph Bologna, Stockard Channing and John Beck in the James Frawley spoof “The Big Bus” (1976), played a lonesome real estate agent named Ann Goode in the drama “Welcome to L.A.” (1976), which was written and directed by Alan Rudolph, and provided the voice of The Seal in the animated film “The Mouse and His Child” (1977), based on the novel of the same name by Russell Hoban. She then played Kay King in George Roy Hill's Academy Award winning “A Little Romance” (1979).
Kellerman revisited television in 1978 when she was teamed up with Sissy Spacek and William Hurt for the made for TV film “Verna: USO Girl” (PBS, 1978) and Tony L Bianco in the adventure television movie “Magee and the Lady” (1978). She also portrayed Lise Bockweiss on “Centennial,” a 12 episode miniseries that aired on NBC from October 1978 to February 1979 that was adapted from James A. Michener's novel of the same name. Costars of the show included Richard Chamberlain, Robert Conrad, Richard Crenna, Timothy Dalton, Andy Griffith, Mark Harmon, Gregory Harrison and David Janssen.
In the early 1980s, Kellerman landed roles in various movies, including Adrian Lyne's “Foxes” (1980, with Jodie Foster, Scott Baio, Randy Quaid and Cherie Currie), the big screen adaptation of Cyra McFadden's “Serial” (1980, opposite Martin Mull, Tuesday Weld, Jennifer McAllister, Bill Macy, Pamela Bellwood, Peter Bonerz and Christopher Lee ), Jack Smight's “Loving Couples” (1980, with Shirley MacLaine, James Coburn, Susan Sarandon and Stephen Collins), Michael Grant's drama “Head On” (starred as Michelle Keys), PBS' “Big Blonde” (1980, starred as Hazel) and ABC's “For Lovers Only” (1982, with Andy Griffith). She also appeared in the independent film “It Rained All Night the Day I Left” (1980), which was directed by Nicolas Gessner, and was nominated for a Genie in the category of Best Performance by a Foreign Actress for her performance. Costars of the film included Tony Curtis and Louis Gossett Jr.
In 1983, Kellerman was cast as Maxine Cates in the Emmy nominated TV movie “Dempsey” (CBS), based on the autobiography of heavyweight American boxer Jack Dempsey that was co-written by Dempsey and his daughter Barbara Lynn Dempsey. The film starred Treat Williams. The same year, she also played Mama Queen in the CBS western “September Gun,” opposite Patty Duke and Geoffrey Lewis, appeared in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode “Sleeping Beauty” and portrayed Zoe in the episode “Dirkham Detective Agency” of “CBS Children's Mystery Theatre.” In 1984, she appeared as Lauren Webb in an episode of “Hotel” titled “Lifelines.” The remainder of the decade found Kellerman in roles in the films “Murder Among Friends” (1985, TV), “Secret Weapons” (1985, TV), “Moving Violations” (1985, opposite John Murray, Jennifer Tilly and Brian Backer), “Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird” (1985, as the voice of Miss Finch), “Meatballs III: Summer Job” (1986, opposite Patrick Dempsey), “Back to School” (1986, with Rodney Dangerfield), “KGB: The Secret War” (1986), “That's Life” (1986, starred Jack Lemmon and Julie Andrews, directed by Blake Edwards), “Three for the Road” (1987), “Someone to Love” (1987), “You Can't Hurry Love” (1988, directed by Richard Martini), “Paramedics” (1988), “The Secret of the Ice Cave” (1989), “All's Fair” (1989) and “Limit Up” (1989). She also appeared in episodes of “Tall Tales & Legends” (1986) and “CBS Summer Playhouse” (1988).
After playing Evelyn Ash in the TV movie “Drop Dead Gorgeous (1991), Kellerman received the title role of Natasha Fatale, opposite Rick Moranis as Boris Badenov, in the comedy film “Boris and Natasha” (1992), loosely based on the animated television series “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” Originally shot in 1988, the film was finally broadcasted on Showtime on April 17, 1992. She also performed the song “It's Good to Be Bad” and served as an executive producer. The same year, she made a cameo appearance in Robert Altman's “The Player.”
Kellerman next supported Drew Barrymore and George Newbern in the horror film “Doppelganger” (1993, written and directed by Avi Nesher), worked with David Schwimmer and Jon Cryer in Doug Ellin's “The Waiter” (1993), costarred with Donald Sutherland, Lolita Davidovich and Brendan Fraser in the comedy “Younger and Younger” (1993), voiced Sunburn in the animated film “Happily Ever After” (1993), and played Roslyn in the horror sequel “Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance” (1993, with Tracy Wells and Roddy McDowall). She was then reunited with Altman for the film “Prêt-à-Porter” (1994), from which she shared a National Board of Review (NBR) for Best Acting by an Ensemble for her portrayal of Sissy Wanamaker. She also had a featured role in “It's My Party” (1996), a drama from director and writer Randal Kleiser that starred Margaret Cho and Bruce Davison, landed a supporting role in the independent drama “The Maze” (1997) and starred as Mary Jane Dankworth in the based on play “The Lay of the Land” (1997), which she also produced.
During the 1990s, Kellerman made guest appearances in a number of television series, including “Evening Shade” (1990), “Murder, She Wrote” (1993, as Junie Cobb), “Dream On” (1994), “Burke's Law” (1995), “The Naked Truth” (1996), “Touched by an Angel” (1996, as Aunt Augusta), “Diagnosis Murder” (2 episodes, 1994 and 1998) and “The Norm Show” (1999). Her voice could also be heard in “Dinosaurs” (1 episode, 1992), “Point of Betrayal” (1995), “Ancient Graves: Voices of the Dead” (1998, TV) and “The Noble Horse” (1999, TV).
Entering the new millennium, Kellerman starred in a one woman show titled “Hot Lips” (2000). The same year, she also costarred with Seymour Cassel in the Zaman King thriller “Women of the Night,” played Cassandra in the Steve Cohen directed TV film “Bar Hopping” (Showtime) with Tom Arnold, Nicole Sullivan, Kelly Preston and Scott Baio, and was featured in Jean-Pierre Marois' comedy “American Virgin.” In 2001, she sang at the New York City nightclub Feinstein's.
Kellerman was next cast as Judge Marcia Blackwell in the based on book television movie “Verdict in Blood” (2002), guest starred in “In-Laws” and “Providence” (both also 2002), sang in the Dan Mirvish movie “Open House” (2004), opposite Ann Magnuson, Anthony Rapp and Kellie Martin, played the mother of Ann Devaney in the short film “Ugly” (2004), costarred with Brenda Vaccaro, Dyan Cannon, Joseph Bologna and Michael Nouri in the Susan Seidelman directed “The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club” (2005) and appeared as Jerry in “A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper” (2007). Following voiceover gigs in “Masters of Science Fiction” (the episode “Watchbird,” 2007) and “Delgo” (2008, as a narrator), she portrayed Donette in the made for TV film “Wishing Well” (2009), starring Jason London.
Kellerman will portray Dorothy in the upcoming comedy “Night Club,” which is scheduled to be released on January 31, 2011. It will be directed by Sam Borowski and scripted by Tom Hass. Costars of the film include Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Zachary Abel, Natasha Lyonne and Paul Sorvino.
High Falls Film Festival: Susan B. Anthony 'Failure is Impossible' Award, 2004
National Board of Review (NBR): Best Acting by an Ensemble, “Prêt-à-Porter,” 1994
Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC): Best Supporting Actress, “MASH,” 1971
Golden Laurel: Best Comedy Performance, Female, “MASH,” 1971