Bergen was an actress, a recording artist with a soulful, distinctive voice, a Broadway regular, an Emmy winner, author and businesswoman.
She made her Broadway debut in John Murray Anderson's Almanac with Harry Belafonte in 1953. Most recently, on Broadway, she appeared in the 2003 Broadway production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks as Lily Harrison. Before that her Broadway appearances ranged from the 2001 production of Follies, the 1998 production of Cabaret where she played Fraulein Schneider, as well as the 1989 production of Love Letters, currently being revived on Broadway with Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, amongst many others.
She received a Tony nomination in 2001 for her performance as Carlotta Campion in Follies.
On television, Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as singer Helen Morgan in "Playhouse 90." She was nominated again in 1989 for supporting actress in a miniseries for the special "War and Rememberance." Her television credits range from "Desperate Housewives" to her own musical-variety “The Polly Bergen Show” on NBC, closing every broadcast with her theme song, “The Party's Over.” Her numerous film credits include the aforementioned 1962 thriller "Cape Fear" to most recently her performance in 2012's "Struck By Lightning" with "Glee" regular Chris Colfer.
Colfer tweeted the following:
Farewell to my dear friend, Polly. I'm so blessed to have had you in my life. No one could make me… http://t.co/w5PakM3zZC
— Chris Colfer (@chriscolfer) September 20, 2014
As an author and businesswoman, Bergen published the first of her three advice books, “The Polly Bergen Book of Beauty, Fashion and Charm” in 1962. Her success in this realm led to her own lucrative cosmetics company
Bergen passed surrounded by friends and family.