Sally Kellerman is an American actress, voice-artist, author, singer, producer and activist. She arrived in the entertainment industry in the late 1950s and since then has appeared in over 50 films and several television programs. She first shot to fame in 1970 when she played Major Margaret Houlihan in Robert Altman's comedy war flick ‘M*A*S*H’ and earned an Oscar nomination for her performance. Kellerman garnered further attention with the movies and TV series ‘Back to School’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘90210’ and ‘Maron’. As a singer, she has released a few albums and has also contributed to a number of soundtracks for movies. Born to a piano teacher and a company executive, she grew up as a shy personality and made only a few friends in school. Her passion for acting motivated her to enrol in Jeff Corey's acting class. Within a year, she started acting in stage productions and eventually ventured into the film and television industries as well. On a personal note, Kellerman has been married twice. She has three children.
Childhood & Early Life
Sally Kellerman was born on June 2, 1937 in Long Beach, California, USA, to John Helm Kellerman, a company executive, and Edith Baine, a piano teacher. She has an elder sister, Diana.
When she was in the fifth grade, she moved to San Fernando Valley with her family. She studied at Hollywood High School and later attended Los Angeles City College. She also attended Jeff Corey's acting class and went on to appear on stage, in John Osborne's play ‘Look Back in Anger.’
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Sally Kellerman debuted before the camera in 1957 when she appeared in the movie ‘Reform School Girl’.
She started the new decade with guest appearances in a number of television programs like ‘Cheyenne’ and ‘Bachelor Father’. She appeared in the stage production of ‘An Enemy of the People’ followed by roles in the plays ‘The Marriage-Go-Round’ and ‘Call Me by My Rightful Name’.
In the late 1960s, the actress guest-starred in the films and TV series ‘Boston Strangler’, ‘The Invaders’ and ‘The April Fools’.
In 1972, she played an aggressive, chain-smoking, sex-addicted lady in Neil Simon's comedy movie ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’. Her next roles included those of an eccentric woman in the road film ‘Slither’ and a lady involved in a deadly plot in the thriller ‘A Reflection of Fear’.
Following an appearance in the movie ‘Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins’, Kellerman sang at Reno Sweeney in October 1975. Then in November and December that year, she performed two more night-shows.
Her later projects in the 1970s included the movie ‘Verna: USO Girl’ and the made-for-television flick ‘She'll Be Sweet’. From 1978 to 1979, she appeared in the sitcom ‘Centennial’.
She began the next decade as Mary, a divorced woman struggling to raise her rebellious daughter in the drama film ‘Foxes’ and as the silly-but-sophisticated Mrs. Liggett in the romantic comedy ‘Loving Couples.’
From 1985 to 1987, the actress featured in a number of movies and TV films including ‘Secret Weapons’, ‘Moving Violations’, ‘Back to School’, ‘Meatballs III: Summer Job’, ‘Three for the Road’ and ‘Someone to Love’.
She next starred alongside Robert Altman in the 1992 black comedy ‘The Player’. Supporting roles followed in the crime drama ‘Murder She Wrote’, the horror film ‘Mirror, Mirror’ and the comedy ‘Younger and Younger’.
From April to May 1995, she played the titular role in the stage production of ‘Mame.’ This was followed by another stage role in ‘The Vagina Monologues’.
After doing a cabaret show conducted at Feinstein's at the Regency, Kellerman did the films ‘Boynton Beach Club’ and ‘The Wishing Well.’ She starred with Mickey Rooney and Ernest Borgnine in the 2011 film ‘Night Club’. Her role as a lady with Alzheimer's disease earned her an Accolade Competition Award.
Kellerman appeared in the drama series ‘Chemistry’ and ‘90210’. In April 2013, she released her memoir titled ‘Read My Lips: Stories of a Hollywood Life’.
In 1970, Sally Kellerman played Major Margaret Houlihan in Robert Altman’s ‘M-A-S-H’, a black comedy war flick about the medical personnel at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). Kellerman’s performance in the movie earned her an Academy as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination for best supporting actress.
Family & Personal Life
During the 1960s, Sally Kellerman underwent a home abortion. In December 1970, she married producer Rick Edelstein. The couple separated in 1972.
In 1967, Kellerman's elder sister Diana came out as a lesbian, divorced her husband, and moved out of the country with her girlfriend. Her husband took full custody of their daughter, Claire. Just before his death, Kellerman adopted Claire.
During the 1970s, Sally Kellerman dated guitarist Mark Farner. On May 11, 1980, she married producer Jonathan D. Krane, who later adopted Claire. Kellerman and Krane also adopted twins Hanna Vaughan and Jack Donald. Hanna tragically died in 2016, at the age of 27.