Kelly Bishop is best known for playing the roles of the mother of Jennifer Gray's character in "Dirty Dancing" and as Emily Gilmore on "Gilmore Girls". Bishop also won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for playing Sheila in "A Chorus Line".
Bishop was a former ballet dancer who performed in Broadway productions. She first studied at the American Ballet Theatre School, then later at the San Jose Ballet School. When she was 18, she landed her first job dancing in a year-round ballet company at Radio City Music Hall. She continued her performances in Las Vegas, summer stock and even on television, until she got cast in her first Broadway role in "Golden Rainbow" in 1967. Her big break soon came, earning a 1976 Tony Award for her portrayal in the Broadway production, "A Chorus Line". Her other Broadway credits include roles in Neil Simon’s "Proposals", "Six Degrees of Separation", and in the Tony Award-winning "The Last Days of Ballyhoo" and "Bus Stop". She was also seen in the production "Precious Sons" and "Becky Shaw" in addition to many appearances off-Broadway and in regional theaters.
In 1978, Kelly Bishop was cast in Paul Mazursky’s big-screen drama, "An Unmarried Woman". Her next big role came as an accident, when she was chosen to replace actress Lynn Lipton as Baby’s mother in 1986’s "Dirty Dancing". Her other films include the Betty Thomas-directed comedy "Private Parts", and 2000’s "Wonder Boys". She was also seen in "Queens Logic", "Cafe Society", "Miami Rhapsody" and "Blue Moon".
On television, Kelly Bishop has been seen in the CW Television Network series "Gilmore Girls" as Emily Gilmore. Her other small screen appearances have been those in Mike Nichols’ "The Thorns", "My Wildest Dreams", and was a guest star in "Murphy Brown", "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", "Army Wives", "Mercy", and "The Good Wife"
In 2012, Bishop will be playing a recurring role on Amy Sherman-Palladino's Bunheads
as Fanny Flowers.
The veteran actress also has other hobbies. She is known to have practiced Pilates and aerobics, while also being fond of hiking and gardening. She has been married to TV talk show host, Lee Leonard.