Nancy Kulp (center) in The Beverly Hillbillies, along with costars Max Baer, Jr. and Sharon Tate

Nancy Jane Kulp (born August 28, 1921 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, died February 3, 1991 in California) was an American Actor best known as "Miss Jane Hathaway" on the popular television series The Beverly Hillbillies.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Kulp was born into an upper-middle-class family in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She obtained her bachelor's degree in journalism from Florida State University and worked on a master's degree in English and French at the University of Miami.

She left the University of Miami to volunteer for United States Navy service in World War II, where she received several decorations, including the American Campaign Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Acting career[edit | edit source]

She moved to Hollywood to work in a studio publicity department, but director George Cukor convinced her that she should work in front of the camera.

Thus began a career as a character actress. Her movie debut was in 1951 in The Company She Keeps. She appeared in subsequent films, including Shane (1953), Sabrina (1954) and A Star is Born (1954). In 1955 she joined the cast of The Bob Cummings Show (aka Love That Bob) with Bob Cummings as pith-helmeted neighborhood bird-watcher, Pamela Livingston. She returned to movies in Forever, Darling (1956), The Three Faces of Eve (1957) and The Parent Trap (1961).

In 1962, she landed the role of Jane Hathaway, the sex-starved perennial spinster, on The Beverly Hillbillies television series. She remained with the show until its cancellation in 1971. In 1967, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her role.

Political career[edit | edit source]

In 1984, Kulp ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Pennsylvania, but was unsuccessful. As an opponent of a Republican incumbent in a Republican district in a year in which Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory, Kulp was the underdog. To her dismay, Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen supported her Republican opponent, incumbent Bud Shuster. Ebsen went so far as to tape an ad for Shuster, labeling Kulp as "too liberal." Ebsen claimed she was exploiting her celebrity status and didn't know the issues.

In what Hollywood biographer Boze Hadleigh claims is an interview he conducted with Kulp in 1987 but was only published after her death, she purportedly admitted she was bisexual).[citation needed] She died of Cancer in California on February 3, 1991 at the age of 69, and was buried in Presbyterian Cemetery, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

External links[edit | edit source]

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