Frances Bergen

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Frances Bergen

Frances Westerman Bergen (born September 14, 1922 in Birmingham; died October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California) was an actress and fashion model. She was the wife of famous ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the mother of Candice and Kris Bergen.

Frances was the daughter of William and Lillie Mae Westerman. She attended Lee Elementary School in West End until her father, a Dr Pepper executive, died. Her mother moved with her to California when she was 11 years old. Later she moved to New York, where she became a successful John Robert Powers model, working as Frances Westcott. She was the "Chesterfield Girl" and "Ipana Girl" in magazines and on billboards. She met Edgar Bergen, then 39, when she was 19 years old and attended a recording of one of his radio programs. They married on June 28, 1945 and remained happily married until Edgar's death in 1978 at 75 years old.

As a performing couple, the Bergens entertained the 1st Infantry Division in Viet Nam and visited Birmingham for six performance during the 1966 Birmingham Festival of Arts' "Salute to the Netherlands".

As an actress, Frances Bergen had supporting or minor roles in a number of films. She made her debut in Titanic (1953), after which she appeared in Robert Z. Leonard's Her Twelve Men, and Douglas Sirk's Interlude (1957). She returned to films in the 1980s, with small roles in American Gigolo, The Sting II, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Morning After, and Made in America, among others. She had a major part in Henry Jaglom's independent film Eating (1990).

On television, Bergen appeared as Madame Francine on the cult western show Yancy Derringer from 1958-1959. She later played guest starring roles on The Millionaire, The Dick Powell Show, Barnaby Jones, MacGyver, and Murder, She Wrote. She appeared on two episodes of Murphy Brown, her daughter's hit show, including Part One of the series finale in 1998.

In later life, Bergen dated actor Craig Stevens. She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of undisclosed causes on October 2, 2006, aged 84.

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