Nancy Kulp (August 28, 1921 – February 3, 1991) appeared as Sister Sarah, a Catholic parish nun, in the Season One episode of Quantum Leap titled "The Right Hand of God". Among her many appearances in feature films, recurring and guest roles in television shows, her most notable roles were as May Hopkins, mother of Officer "Hoppy" Hopkins on the NBC-TV series Sanford and Son, and as Miss Jane Hathaway on the popular 1960's CBS-TV series The Beverly Hillbillies.
Nancy made her film debut as a character actress in 1951 in The Model and the Marriage Broker. She then appeared in other films, including Shane (1952), Sabrina (1954), and A Star Is Born (1954). Kulp has an uncredited bit part in a crowd scene as a fan of Donald O'Connor in one of the opening scenes in Anything Goes (1956). After working in television on The Bob Cummings Show, she returned to movies in Forever, Darling, The Three Faces of Eve, The Parent Trap (1961), and The Aristocats.
Nancy was once described as television's most homely girl or, as one reviewer put it, possessing the "face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti, and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season." Others described her as tall and prim and praised her comedic skills.
She also appeared in several episodes of Perry Mason, The Jack Benny Program, 87th Precinct, The Twilight Zone and The Outlaws, and she briefly played a drunken waitress with slightly slurred speech in a 1959 episode of Maverick, featuring James Garner, entitled "Full House." Kulp also played a housekeeper in a pilot for The William Bendix Show, which aired as the 1960-61 season finale of Mister Ed under the episode title "Pine Lake Lodge."
In 1962, Nancy landed her breakout role of Jane Hathaway, the love-starved bird-watching perennial spinster, on The Beverly Hillbillies television series. She remained with the show until its cancellation in 1971. In 1967 she received an Emmy Award nomination for her role.
Kulp was diagnosed with cancer in 1990, and she underwent chemotherapy. By 1991 the cancer had spread, and Kulp died on February 3 at a friend's home in Palm Desert, California. She is interred at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
- The Model and the Marriage Broker at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- "Los Angeles Times."
- "New York Times."
- Palm Springs Confidential: Playground of the Stars!, by Howard Johns, Barricade Books, Fort Lee, NJ, ISBN 978-1569802694 126 pages, OCLC 54392060 LCCN 2004041116, 2004.
- Nancy Kulp (1921 - 1991) - at Find A Grave Memorial