Carol Bruce
Date of Birth
Nov 15, 1919
Birth Place:
Great Neck, NY

Biography

Carol Bruce's careers as a leading actress in movies and on television were separated by about 40 years. Born Shirley Levy in Great Neck, NY, she showed considerable musical talent while in her teens, and was barely 20 years old when she was spotted by Irving Berlin, who reportedly wrote a part in the stage musical Louisiana Purchase specifically for her. While appearing in the original Broadway cast of that show, she also became a regular performer on radio at the dawn of the '40s, and later began singing in nightclubs as well. Following the close of Louisiana Purchase, she was signed by Universal Pictures and made her screen debut in the Abbott & Costello vehicle Keep 'Em Flying, playing the love interest for the flashy barnstorming pilot played by Dick Foran -- dark-haired and dark-eyed, she looked sensational, acted up a storm, and also sang the song "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" in the film. Bruce only appeared in one more movie under her Universal contract, Behind the Eight Ball (1942). She preferred live performance and busied herself over the next few years singing with Red Norvo's band on a series of V-Discs and in concert, and also appearing at major nightspots such as the Copacabana. She won the role of Julie in the acclaimed 1946 revival of Showboat that included Kenneth Spencer and Jan Clayton in the cast. She subsequently appeared in theatrical revivals of One Touch of Venus, Bloomer Girl, Annie Get Your Gun, Lady in the Dark, andPal Joey, and shared a stage with Noel Coward in London. She was a regular performer on comedy and variety shows during the '50s, and also did dramatic performances on anthology shows such as Armstrong Circle Theater and Studio One, but she wasn't seen again in movies until American Gigolo in 1979. Her acting career jumped to the small screen around that same time when she won the role of Mama Carlson, the flinty radio station owner (and mother of general manager Arthur Carlson, portrayed by Gordon Jump) in the series WKRP In Cincinnati. She appeared subsequently in the comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and returned to the WKRP cast when the series was revived as a first run syndication sitcom at the end of the '80s. She continued to perform on stage, in dramatic and musical roles, into her eighties. Bruce died in 2007, at the age of 87. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Provided by Rovi