Today: Frances Bay, who didn’t become an actress until her 50's yet still succeeded in Hollywood.
You may not recognize her name but you’ve likely seen her work. She was the little old woman who battled Jerry Seinfeld for the last marbled rye bread on “Seinfeld,” she was Fonzi’s Grandma Nussbaum on “Happy Days” and Adam Sandler’s Grandma in “Happy Gilmore.” She was on “The Jeffersons,” the “Dukes of Hazzard,” “ER,” “Matlock” and in all over 50 movies and 100 television shows and numerous stage plays.
Frances kept acting until she died at the age of 92, September 15th, 2011 of pneumonia at a Los Angeles area hospital, most recently playing Aunt Ginny on the ABC sitcom, “The Middle.”
Born Frances Goffman on Jan. 23rd, 1919 in Manville, Alberta, Canada she began doing radio voice and acting work first in Winnipeg and then in Toronto. But when she married her childhood sweetheart, businessman Charles Bay, she set aside her career to become a devoted housewife and mother.
In 1973, while they were living in New York, 54 year old Frances decided to pursue her girlhood dream of becoming an actress. She had professional pictures taken, knocked on doors, landed an agent, auditioned and got some work. But it was in 1975 when she and Charles moved to Los Angeles her career really took off, with movie, television and stage work thereafter.
Although Frances was a busy actress, something most actors might envy, life was no easier for her than it is for the rest of us. For example, she and Charles lost their son, their only child when he died at the age of 23. And in 2002, Charles passed away. That same year, while crossing the street, Frances was hit by a car and lost the lower part of her right leg. Yet instead of bemoaning life’s ills, she bounced back and continued to act, staying very much in demand.
Why did she become an actress? The answer is revealing. “I always wanted to be an actress, Frances told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. “And it wasn’t ego. I felt so little about myself, considering myself such a sparrow. I thought I was so plain … I did plays not to show off but because if I did that … I would be somebody other than this person I didn’t really approve of. I guess that’s true of a lot of actors.” *
But audiences approved of Frances in whatever roles she played, often grannies, older aunts and kindly neighbors, as she lit up the screen or the stage. And being as busy as she was, she lived a long life doing what she loved and being very much in demand in the public eye.
Success Tip of the Week:
If you have a dream career, like Frances, pursue it even if you are an older person. Your greatest accomplishments may lie ahead of you.
If you would like to see Jerry Seinfeld battling Frances over the rye bread, please click on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j5xbbQDTRM * Quote was taken from, “Frances Bay dies at 92; veteran character actress,” Los Angeles Times http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/17/local/la-me-frances-bay-20110917
In the next KazanToday:
Valuable lessons from the voice of reason.