Kay Medford (Margaret Kathleen Regan)

Kay Medford

She was born Margaret Kathleen Regan in 1919 in New York City to James and Mary Regan, first-generation Irish-American parents. She was orphaned in her teens. She adopted the name “Kay Medford” professionally, and began her career after graduating from high school and working as a nightclub waitress.  She was the original “Mama” in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway, garnering excellent reviews, but lost the film role to Maureen Stapleton. Medford appeared in the Warner Bros. rock and roll film, Jamboree (1957). Medford made her Broadway debut in 1951 in the musical Paint Your Wagon. She was cast in Carousel, before she appeared onstage in Funny Girl as the mother of Fanny Brice (played by Barbra Streisand); for this performance she was nominated for a 1964 Tony Award for Featured Actress (Musical), and when she repeated the role in the 1968 film adaptation, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her many film credits included roles in A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Rat Race (1960), BUtterfield 8 (1961), Ensign Pulver (1964), A Fine Madness (1966), The Busy Body (1967), Angel in My Pocket (1969), Twinky (1969), Fire Sale (1977), and Windows (1980).  Medford was cast in guest-starring role on various television series, including Decoy, To Rome With Love, The Partridge Family, and The Dean Martin Show.  Kay Medford never married. She died from cervical cancer in New York City in 1980, aged 60.

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  • 20110409163914-medford-birdie -


  • September, 14, 1919
  • USA
  • New York, New York


  • April, 10, 1980
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Cause of Death

  • cervical cancer


  • Cremated

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