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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 29, 1999
- Vol. 51
- No. 11
Peggy Cass: Truth Teller
In a Career Lasting Five Decades, the Feisty Actress Loved to Call It Like She Saw It
Armed with a brassy voice that, says fellow Truth panelist Orson Bean, "could boil the fat off a cabdriver's neck," Cass wielded a razor-sharp wit. When actress Kitty Carlisle Hart showed up one day for a Truth taping bedecked in chiffon evening wear, "Peggy came out with her little Peter Pan collar and short, flat skirt and sweater," Hart recalls. "She looked at me and said, 'Well, Madame Butterfly, it doesn't look like we're going to the same party.' "
The middle child of a Boston sports promoter and a homemaker, Cass made her stage debut playing a Russian sniper in a 1945 USO show in Australia. She then hit the boards on Broadway in shows such as Touch and Go. Though her role in the stage and film versions of Auntie Mame made her an award-winning actress, it wasn't until her first appearance swapping witty repartee with Jack Paar on The Tonight Show in 1958, Cass once said, that "all of a sudden, I was famous."
Cass's talents kept her working on quiz shows, in stage productions and on TV, including the 1995 miniseries Danielle Steel's Zoya. But recently she spent much of her time traveling with her husband of 20 years, retired teacher Eugene Feeney, and maintaining ties to those who loved talking to her. "She was always laughing," says Bean. "She was just a joy to be around."
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