Veteran actress Kelly Bishop has portrayed many memorable roles in film, television and the theater since her breakout performance as one of the original cast members of the hit Broadway musical A Chorus Line.
The Colorado Springs native grew up in Denver, Colo., where she trained to be a ballet dancer. At 18, she headed to New York and landed her first job dancing in a year-round ballet company at Radio City Music Hall. Bishop did nightclub work after that until she was cast in 1967 in Golden Rainbow, her first Broadway role.
Her big break came when she was cast as the sexy, hard-edged Sheila in A Chorus Line. She won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her break-out performance, giving her the confidence she needed to eventually leave the acclaimed original ensemble and move to Los Angeles to pursue a dramatic acting career.
It wasn't long before she was cast opposite Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky's big-screen drama An Unmarried Woman. She went on to play "mom" to several high-profile stars in numerous features: Jennifer Grey's mother in the box-office hit Dirty Dancing, Howard Stern's mother in the Betty Thomas-directed comedy Private Parts and Tobey Maguire's mom in Wonder Boys. Her additional feature credits include Blue Moon, Café Society, Miami Rhapsody, Queens Logic, Me and Him and A Guy's Guide to Marrying Money.
On television, Bishop starred in the Mike Nichols' series The Thorns, and played Lisa Ann Walter's mother on the show My Wildest Dreams. She has guest-starred on Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Murphy Brown, and had recurring roles on All My Children, One Life to Live, Another World and As the World Turns.
Bishop's extensive theater credits include playing the lead in the Broadway production of Six Degrees of Separation, as well as starring in Broadway productions of Neil Simon's Proposals, the Tony Award-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Bus Stop and Precious Sons. She has also starred in numerous regional theater and Off-Broadway productions.
About the character: Emily is Lorelai's mother. She wanted the best for her daughter, unfortunately her daughter just wanted to make it on her own. Now that Lorelai needs money, Emily wants to make sure she gets the family togetherness she always wanted.
Kelly Bishop is married to Lee Leonard (from 1981-present), host of Channel 12 show "Jersey Talkin'" in New Jersey.