AUGUST 28: Nancy Kulp (1921-1991)

The actress Nancy Kulp was born on this day in 1921. She is
most famous for her work as Miss Jane Hathaway on the popular 1960s television
series The Beverly Hillbillies.

The interview in which Nancy came out of the closet was used in the book Hollywood Lesbians by Boze Hadleigh (x). 

Nancy Jane Kulp was born on August 28, 1921 in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania. She grew up in a middle-class family with her mother and father
and was an only child. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree
in journalism in 1943, which was then Florida State College for Women. With the
outbreak of World War II, Nancy left her pursuit of a master’s degree and
became a lieutenant in the women’s branch of the United States Naval Reserve.
In 1951, she and her husband Charles Malcolm Dacus moved to Hollywood so that
Nancy could take a position at MGM’s publicity department. Director George
Cukor at MGM was soon able to convince her that she should break into acting
herself.

Nancy poses with her co-star Buddy Ebsen for a promotional shot for The Beverly Hillbillies (x).

Her first acting gig was on The Bob Cummings Show in 1955 and throughout her career, Nancy appeared
in I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and The
Parent Trap
. Her breakout role came in 1962 when she was cast on The Beverly Hillbillies as Jane
Hathaway, for which she received an Emmy nomination in 1967. She remained on The Beverly Hillbillies until the show’s
cancellation in 1971. In 1984, Nancy had retired from acting and made the
switch over to politics – running but eventually losing a campaign for the
United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 9th congressional
district.

In 1989, Nancy came out as a lesbian in an interview with
the author Boze Hadleigh. Her exact words read, “"As long as you reproduce
my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it…. I’d appreciate it
if you’d let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here’s how I
would ask it: ‘Do you think that opposites attract?’ My own reply would be that
I’m the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That
answers your question.” Sadly, she was not able to live in her truth for long
and was diagnosed with cancer just a year later in 1990. Nancy passed away on
February 3, 1991.

-LC