‘Happy Gilmore,’ ‘Seinfeld’ Actress Frances Bay Dies

Sep 16, 2011 4:31pm

Beloved character actress Frances Bay who made memorable appearances in films like “Happy Gilmore” and television shows like “Happy Days” and “Seinfeld” has died.

Bay’s agent, Brian McCabe, told the Los Angeles Times  that Bay died Thursday.  She was 92.

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The Canadian woman first appeared on radio shows before World War II.  She put a hold on her career when she married and had a son.  In the 1970s, she began taking acting classes again. 

“I don’t know if it was women’s lib or something that kind of turned inside of me, but I just started doing it: got new pictures, started pounding the pavement, went to agents–and I got work,” Bay told the Los Angeles Times  in 1986.

She appeared on screen for the first time in 1976 in “Foul Play,” a comedy featuring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

She worked with David Lynch on several projects including “Blue Velvet.”  Some of her most memorable roles include playing a grandmother in ‘Happy Gilmore,” Fonzie’s grandmother on “Happy Days” and an older woman who Jerry Seinfeld stole a loaf of marbled rye bread from in “Seinfeld.”

In 2008, Hollywood heavyweights like Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Henry Winkler campaigned for her to get a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Bay’s husband and childhood sweetheart  died in 2002 and her son died at the age of 23.

“I always wanted to be an actress,” Bay told the Los Angeles Times  in 1986. “And it wasn’t ego. I felt so little about myself, considered myself such a sparrow. Not just my size: I thought I was so plain. . . . I did plays not to show off but because if I did that–I didn’t realize it at the time–I would be somebody other than this person I didn’t really approve of. I guess that’s true of a lot of actors.”

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