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Sally Kellerman: From Hot Lips Houlihan to Constance Bingham

Sally Kellerman and Justin Hartley

Sally Kellerman and Justin Hartley

An impressive 60 year career began in the 1960s

Sally Clare Kellerman was born on June 2, 1937, and had an acting career that spanned over six decades. Although she had many prominent roles in television and movies she is best known for portraying Magaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the 1970 film MASH. Loretta Switt had the role in the sitcom M*A*S*H that ran from 1972-to 1983. Those who watch the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless will recall the actress portraying Constance Bingham. for 10 episodes between 2014 and 2015. While in college Kellerman enrolled in acting classes with Jeff Corey. Four of her classmates were Jack Nicholson, Robert Blake, Dean Stockwell, and Shirley Knight who all went on to have successful careers. Kellerman worked as a waitress at Chez Paulette to pay her tuition and her first role was reform School Girl in 1957. During the 1960s she had roles on a number of television series including The Outer Limits, Hawaii Five-O, Bachelor Father, The Rogues, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and Star Trek.The actress has said that in 1961 she had a botched abortion when she was dating fellow actor William Duffy.

Kellerman with WIlliam Shatner on Star Trek.

Kellerman with WIlliam Shatner on Star Trek.

Kellerman's career in the 1970s and 1980s

During the 1970s Kellerman's film roles included The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Lost Horizon, and Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins, A Reflection of Fear, and The Big Bus. She was also in the television miniseries Centennial. She was also in the made-for-TV movie She's Be Sweet. Shortly after MASH was released Kellerman married Rick Edelstein. who was a producer on the TV series Starsky & Hutch but she divorced him on March 6, 1972, citing irreconcilable differences. In 1980 Kellerman portrayed the mother of Jodie Foster's character in the film The Little Foxes. During the 1980s she hosted Saturday Night Live and was in the made for television films Dempsey, Women Behind Bars, and That's Life. She was also in the films It's Good to Be Bad and It's Bad to be Good, Back to School, and Moving Violations. For a time in the mid-1970s, During the 1970s Kellerman was involved with a number of men including Mark Farner of the rock group Grand Funk Railroad. He wrote the song "Sally", from the 1976 album Born to Die in honor of their relationship.

Kellerman in the early days

Kellerman in the early days

The 1990s and 2000s

During the 1990s Kellerman was in a number of stage productions including Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf and Lay of the Land She also guest-starred in an episode of the television series Columbo in 1996. In 2004 she received the Susan B Anthony Failure is Impossible Award for women in the film industry. In 2008 she released a Jazz/Blues album where she did covers of songs by singers like Jackson Brown, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, and Kim Karp. In 2011 the actress starred with Mickey Rooney and Ernest Borgnine in Nightclub. Her character was a woman living in a home for Alzheimer's patients. From 2014-to 2015 Kellerman had the role of Constance Bingham on the CBS soap The Young and the Restless who was involved in the return of Adam Newman (Justin Hartley) to Genoa City. From 2016-to 2017 she was in 6 episodes of the TV series Decker and in 2017 her final role was as an episode of Difficult People titled Silkwood.

Sally Kellerman's family life

On May 11, 1980, Kellerman married Jonathan D. Krane in a private ceremony Sixteen-year-old Claire Anderson Graham, Kellerman's niece/adoptive daughter, was her maid of honor and in. In May 1987, Krane adopted Claire. The couple also adopted newborn twins, Jack Donald and Hannah Vaughan, in 1989. Kellerman and Krane separated twice during their 36-year marriage but remained together until Jonathan died of a heart attack on August 1, 2016, at the age of 64. Sadly their daughter Hannah Krane two months later on October 22, 2016, at the age of 27 from an overdose of heroin and methamphetamines. Sally Kellerman's role in Nightclub seemed to be a premonition of her own demise. According to her son, she passed away on February 24, 2022, from heart failure and was living in a facility for people with dementia. fans of the actress can continue their fond memories as many of her early roles can be seen on MeTV and other retro channels.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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© 2022 Cheryl E Preston

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