Born in Cleveland eighty-one years ago, Kaye Ballard (nee Caterina Ballotta) has done TV series (The Mothers in Law, The Doris Day Show), Broadway (The Golden Apple, Carnival, Molly, Nunsense) Vegas, clubs, pictures, you name it.
In this interview, Kaye talks about her life in show business going back to her days with Spike Jones and His Band in the 1940s, and mentions her big break at Columbus’s Club Gloria.
Hear about her famous friends with whom she worked: Bette Davis, Desi Arnaz, Fred Ebb, Doris Day, Marc Blitzstein, Lenny Bruce, Jimmy Durante, and Lucille Ball among them, and she reminds us of great entertainers forgotten today, people such as Billy DeWolfe and Virginia Graham.
Highlights From This Interview:
“Spike Jones was a genius. People didn’t know how really brilliant he was. Everything was timed within seconds. And he had great people with him, like Carl Grayson and Red Ingle. I mean these people knew what they were doing. They were totally rehearsed. Do you know what bothers me today? All the improvisation work. It’s hit and miss.”
“I started out as an impressionist, which I think, if everyone’s honest, they all start out that way, think whom can I imitate? I did Judy Garland, Martha Raye, Bea Lillie. I had class, right away.”
“Virginia Graham was one of the brightest women I’ve ever known. And when Barbara Walters says ‘I had this idea for “The View,”" I say ‘Wait a minute.’ It was Virginia Graham who had ‘Girl Talk’, and ‘Girl Talk’ was totally interesting because she had new guests every day. And brilliant people who weren’t there to sell something.”
“that’s what I wanted to say in the book, and I don’t know if I came through. I want to say all the people that gave their heart and soul to the profession that they loved. People have forgotten, and you only remember someone who was on TV. The people from ‘American Idol’ are more famous than some of those people (I mentioned). That hurts my heart.”