Mary Margaret “Peggy” Cass (May 21, 1924 – March 8, 1999) was an American actress, comedian, game show panelist, and announcer.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Cass became interested in acting as a member of the drama club at Cambridge Latin School; however, she attended all of high school without a speaking part. After graduating from high school, she spent most of the 1940s in search of an acting career, eventually landing Jan Sterling's role in a traveling production of Born Yesterday.
Stage and film
Cass made her Broadway debut in 1949 with the play Touch and Go.
Remembered today primarily as a regular panelist on the long-running To Tell The Truth, Cass was best known for her performance as Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame on both Broadway and in the film version (1958), a role for which she won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress, and later received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Upon achieving acclaim for her role as Agnes Gooch, Cass once recounted how she felt a high one night as she approached the theatre where Auntie Mame was playing; however, the lights were out in the "C" of her last name, which resulted in a billing of "Peggy -ass."
Cass was also part of the nine member ensemble cast for the 1960 Broadway revue A Thurber Carnival, adapted by James Thurber from his own works. As "First Woman", according to the script, she played the mother in "The Wolf at the Door", a woman who insisted Macbeth was a murder mystery, the wife Mr. Preble wanted to get rid of, Miss Alma Winege (who wanted to ship Thurber 36 copies of Grandma Was a Nudist), a woman helping to update old poetry, Walter Mitty's wife, and the narrator of "The Little Girl and The Wolf".
In 1964 she starred as First Lady Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield in the mock-biographical novel First Lady: My Thirty Days in the White House. The book, written by Auntie Mame author Patrick Dennis, included photographs by Cris Alexander of Cass, Dody Goodman, Kaye Ballard and others, portraying the novel's characters.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s she replaced other actresses in Don't Drink the Water (as Marion Hollander) and in Neil Simon's Plaza Suite; and played Mollie Malloy in two revival runs of The Front Page. She also appeared in the 1969 film comedy If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. In the 1980s she returned to the stage in 42nd Street and in the brief 1985 run of The Octette Bridge Club.
Full article ▸