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Fay Baker

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Fay Baker
Fay Schwager

(1917-01-31)January 31, 1917
New York City, U.S.
DiedDecember 8, 1987(1987-12-08) (aged 70)
Other namesBeth Holmes
Years active1938–1965
Arthur Weiss
(m. 1940; div. 1965)

Fay Baker (born Fay Schwager; January 31, 1917 – December 8, 1987) was an American stage, film and television actress. Using the pen name Beth Holmes, she wrote the novel, The Whipping Boy. She also published, under her own name, My Darling, Darling Doctors.

Early years

Baker's father was a surgeon, and her mother was a pharmacist. She attended Smith College.[1]


Roles on radio soap operas provided Baker's early professional acting experience.[1] Her Broadway career began in 1938 with a role in Danton's Death. Her final Broadway role was in Wonderful Journey (1946).[2] She changed her name to Baker (from her mother's family) in 1944 in Another Love Story at New York's Fulton Theatre. She was "discovered" by Alfred Hitchcock in 1946 and given the role of Ethel in Notorious. While the part was minor, she told her daughter that Hitchcock made her stay on the set for the entire film shoot. The director felt that she should be standing by at all times because he was paying her salary. She claimed she had a larger role in the film but that much of her work had been cut from the final film.[citation needed]

Baker remained in Hollywood for nearly two decades, acting in two dozen films, including star billing in The House on Telegraph Hill (1950).[3] She had one of the leading roles in the 1950 crime drama Double Deal, and later played one of Ethel Barrymore's two daughters trying to seize control of and sell editor Humphrey Bogart's newspaper in the 1952 drama Deadline - U.S.A..

During her California years, she also appeared frequently on television. She is credited with guest parts on 30 different series beginning with Your Show Time in 1949 up to her final performance on Dr. Kildare in 1963. Her roles included comedy sitcoms (Hazel, The Donna Reed Show), drama (Perry Mason), and westerns (Have Gun - Will Travel). In 1958, she made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, playing Marian Newburn in "The Case of the Demure Defendant" and Stephanie Sabin in "The Case of the Perjured Parrot".

Prior to 1963, Baker began writing when a problem with her back prevented her from acting. She began work on a book and sold some nonfiction pieces to magazines, in addition to receiving $50,000 from a producer for one of her stories.[4]

Personal life

Baker married writer/producer Arthur Weiss[4] on August 3, 1940 in New York City. They had two children, her son Jonathan's being born in 1950, before divorcing in 1965. While Weiss remained in California working for Irwin Allen, she returned to New York City with her two children and began a new career as an author.

After her son Jonathan died from a drug overdose in 1971, Baker dedicated herself to the topic of how parents enable bad behavior in children. This inspired her most successful novel, The Whipping Boy (1978), which focused on the "emotional abuse" of children.[citation needed] She used the pen name "Beth Holmes" to shield her family from being compared with fictional characters in the novel.

Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and described the experience humorously in her book My Darling, Darling Doctors in 1975. She lost her 15-year battle with breast cancer on December 8, 1987 at age 70.

TV appearances

TV Show Role Episode Year
Your Show Time The Necklace 1949
Fireside Theatre Dinner for Three 1950
Dangerous Assignment Countess Todesca The Knitting Needle Story 1952
The Doctor The Hiding Place 1952
Cavalcade of America A Romance to Remember 1952
Sky King Lucille Bradley Wings of Justice 1952
Rebound Quiet Sunday 1953
The Millionaire Margaret Browning The Margaret Browning Story 1955
The Loretta Young Show Pat Wadlington Let Columbus Discover You 1955
Damon Runyon Theatre Adele Salisbury Old Em's Kentucky Home 1955
Four Star Playhouse Claire Dumont Man in the Cellar 1954
Nadine The Case of Emily Carmeron 1956
Mr. Adams and Eve Gloria The Proposal 1957
State Trooper Judith Andrews Weep No More O'Grady 1957
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Sylvia The Girl in the Grass 1957
The Ford Television Theatre Laura Van Cleve Singapore 1957
The Adventures of Jim Bowie Charlotte De Vaux A Fortune for Madame 1957
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Marie Burden Bad Woman 1957
San Francisco Beat Elsie Folger The Jealous Mambo Dancer Case 1958
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Margaret Green Letter Edged in Blackmail 1958
The Court of Last Resort Mrs. Laura Barclay The Stephen Lowell Case 1958
M Squad Helen Greville Day of Terror 1958
Perry Mason Marian Newburn The Case of the Demure Defendant 1958
Stephanie Sabin The Case of the Perjured Parrot 1958
Have Gun - Will Travel Mrs. Grayson Lady on the Stagecoach 1959
The David Niven Show Sarah Winter The Promise 1959
Maggie Annie Bradley Unsold Pilot 1960
The Donna Reed Show Hope Donna Goes to a Reunion 1960
77 Sunset Strip Caroline Kinares Strange Bedfellows 1961
The Ann Sothern Show Mildred Holliday Five Year Itch 1959
Louise The Roman Hatter 1960
Miss Norton Pandora 1961
This Is the Life The Sin of Silence 1961
The Roaring 20's Carlotta La Salle No Exit 1961
Hazel Madeleine Van Dyke Number, Please? 1962
Dr. Kildare Mrs. Tucker A Very Infectious Disease 1963


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Notorious Ethel
1948 Trapped by Boston Blackie Margie O'Reilly, alias Sandra Doray IMDb
The Gentleman from Nowhere Catherine Ashton
The Saxon Charm Mrs. Noble Uncredited
No Minor Vices Mrs. Felton Uncredited
Family Honeymoon Fran Wilson Uncredited
1949 Manhattan Angel Vi Langdon IMDb
Black Midnight Martha Baxter IMDb
Tell It to the Judge Valerie Hobson
1950 Chain Lightning Mrs. Willis
Father of the Bride Miss Bellamy (Stanley's secretary) Uncredited
Double Deal Lilly Sebastian
1951 The Company She Keeps Tilly Thompson
The House on Telegraph Hill Margaret
Reunion in Reno Miss Pearson IMDb
1952 Deadline - U.S.A. Alice Garrison Courtney
The Star Faith, Margaret's sister
1953 The Blue Gardenia Switchboard Monitor Uncredited
Invaders from Mars Mrs. Wilson Uncredited
1954 Phffft! Radio Actress as 'Nurse Serena' Uncredited
1955 I Died a Thousand Times Woman in Tropico Lobby Uncredited
1956 Don't Knock the Rock Arlene MacLaine
1957 She Devil Evelyn Kendall IMDb
Sorority Girl Mrs. Tanner
1965 The Slender Thread Telephone Supervisor Uncredited, (final film role)


Year Play Role Notes
1946 Wonderful Journey Julia Farnsworth Dec 25, 1946 - Jan 1, 1947
1944 Violet Crystal Oct 24, 1944 - Nov 11, 1944
1943 Another Love Story Celia Hale Oct 12, 1943 - Jan 8, 1944
1942 The Sun Field Mildred Deagon Dec 9, 1942 - Dec 12, 1942
1942 Journey to Jerusalem The Greek Woman Oct 5, 1940 - Oct 19, 1940
The Taming of the Shrew Bianca Feb 5, 1940 - Feb 10, 1940
1938 Danton's Death Voice in the Street Nov 2, 1938 - Nov 1938


  1. ^ a b "Sinister Governess Role Boosts Fay Baker Stock". Independent Press-Telegram. California, Long Beach. April 1, 1951. p. 10. Retrieved September 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Fay Baker". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Allmovie.com profile
  4. ^ a b "Hollywood Script Teasers". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. November 10, 1963. p. 533. Retrieved September 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
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