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Nancy Kulp was an American character actor best known for playing May Hopkins on the sitcom “Sanford and Son” and Miss Jane Hathaway on the CBS series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” She was renowned for her roles in the TV series Our Miss Brooks, Date with the Angels, and The Bob Cummings Show as recurrent characters. Several television shows, including “The Life of Riley,” “It’s a Great Life,” “Cheyenne,” “The Red Skelton Show,” “Pete and Gladys,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Fantasy Island,” “Quantum Leap,” “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” and “The Love Boat,” to mention a few, featured Kulp in guest roles. By acting in the films “The Marrying Kind,” “The Caddy,” “Sabrina,” “The Shrike,” “God Is My Partner,” “Kiss Them for Me,” “The Parent Trap,” and “The Patsy,” the actress also made a contribution to the big screen. She also performed on stage, in “Morning’s at Seven,” a Broadway musical. Few people are aware that Kulp served in the United States Naval Reserve before breaking into Hollywood, despite the fact that the majority of people are familiar with her for her illustrious acting career. During her time in the military, she earned various awards and the rank of junior grade lieutenant. In terms of accolades and prizes, the actress has received a nomination for an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy Award. Kulp, who endured treatment for her disease in her final days, passed away on February 3, 1991, at the age of 69.

Early Childhood & Life

The only child of Marjorie and Robert Tilden Kulp, Nancy was born on August 28, 1921, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States. Her father was a traveling salesman, and her mother was a teacher and then the principal of a school.

Kulp earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Florida State University (Florida State College for Women) in 1943. She was also a writer for the publication “Miami Beach Tropics” during this period.
At the University of Miami, she then finished her education. She left the institution, nevertheless, to join the women’s division of the US Naval Reserve. She left the Reserve in 1946 after receiving numerous honors while serving.

The career of Nancy Kulp

The 1951 film “The Model and the Marriage Broker” marked Nancy Kulp’s acting debut. She had appearances in “The Marrying Kind” and “Steel Town” the following year. She soon received the role of Emma in the comedy-musical sports film “The Caddy.”

Then, in 1954, the actress was given the chance to take on the character of a maid in the romantic comedy film “Sabrina.” The drama “Sabrina Fair” by Samuel A. Taylor served as the inspiration for this film. Kulp appeared as a special guest in the TV dramas “Topper” and “December Bride” that same year.
In 1955, she took on the role of Pamela Livingstone and joined the cast of “The Bob Cummings Show.” She also appeared in a few movies that year, including “The Shrike,” “Not as a Stranger,” “You’re Never Too Young,” and “Count Three and Pray.” In addition, Kulp made appearances as a guest star in a number of TVs shows that year, including “It’s a Great Life,” “Svengali and the Blonde,” “Topper,” “Schlitz Playhouse,” and “General Electric Theater.”

The American beauty was cast in recurrent parts in the comedies “Our Miss Brooks” and “Date with the Angels” in 1956 and 1957. She also appeared in a number of movies during this time, including “Anything Goes,” “God Is My Partner,” “The Three Faces of Eve,” “Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend,” and “Kiss Them for Me.”

Kulp made appearances on several television shows between 1958 and 1961, including “Colgate Theatre,” “The Real McCoys,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Playhouse 90,” “Sunday Showcase,” “Bourbon Street Beat,” “Shirley Temple’s Storybook,” “Mister Ed,” and “The Jack Benny Program.” During this time, she appeared in a couple of movies as an actor.

In the 1960s, Nancy Kulp largely concentrated on films. She made cameos in the comedies “Who’s Minding the Store,” “The Patsy,” and “Strange Bedfellows,” as well as “The Night of the Grizzly,” an action Western. In 1973, she began portraying Mrs. Gruber in the American sitcom “The Brian Keith Show.”

Kulp had numerous TV appearances as a guest star between 1978 and 1989. The Love Boat, CHiPs, Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, The Wilder Summer, Fantasy Island, Simon & Simon, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Quantum Leap, and the ABC Afterschool Special were among the shows that were mentioned.
She ran unopposed as the Democratic candidate for the 9th congressional district of Pennsylvania for the United States House of Representatives in 1984 as a result of her years of service with the Democratic state committee in the state of Pennsylvania. After losing, she began working as an artist-in-residence at Juniata College, a private liberal arts college. She eventually started instructing acting.

Bigger Works of Nancy Kulp

In the American sitcom “Sanford and Son,” Nancy Kulp played the role of May Hopkins from 1975 to 1976. The NBC television network’s “Steptoe and Son”-inspired series was well-known for its cutting-edge running jokes, racial comedy, and catchphrases.

From 1980 to 1981, the actress was on stage in the performance of “Morning’s at Seven.” She took the part of Elizabeth Wilson in the play. The reviewers praised her performance.

Recognition & Achievements

Nancy Kulp served in the United States Naval Reserve until she was honorably discharged in 1946. During this time, she was awarded various honors, including the American Campaign Medal.
For her work in “The Beverly Hillbillies,” she was nominated in 1967 for a “Primetime Emmy Award” in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Personal Legacy & Life

In April 1951, Charles Malcolm and Nancy Kulp were united in marriage in Dade County, Florida. Ten years later, in 1961, the couple became divorced.

The actress had chemotherapy after receiving a cancer diagnosis in 1990. However, despite the medication, the cancer progressed quickly, and she passed away on February 3, 1991, at a friend’s residence in Palm Desert, California. She was then 69 years old. At the Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, she was laid to rest.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Nancy Kulp is unknown.


Nancy Kulp loved football with a passion.
She has excellent French language skills.
She cherished the phrase “I am a cerebral symbol, not a sex symbol.”