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Frances Bay dies: Remembering comedian, classic 'Seinfeld' scene

September 19, 2011 |  7:15 am

Frances Bay

Shut up, you old bag! It was a classic "Seinfeld" moment, and the woman being pursued for her marble rye was actress Frances Bay. Bay, who died last week at age 92, didn't begin acting until her mid-50s.

The petite housewife-turned-actress grew up in Dauphin, Canada, but settled in the U.S. after husband Charles Bay's job brought them here. Her career took off with her role in "Foul Play" with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

In 2008, former Los Angeles Times writer Diane Haithman remembered meeting Bay at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's New Playwrights Conference in 1983. Bay was one of the actors, and Haithman was on a fellowship to study criticism. Wrote Haithman: "Bay was noted for roundly scolding those who complained about our modest dormitory digs: For her, it was never about comfort, always about the work."

She was 89 when she scored a star on Canada's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, thanks to a petition endorsed by 10,000 people and letters of recommendation from actors including Adam Sandler (Bay had a role in "Happy Gilmore"), Jerry Seinfeld and Henry Winkler (she played Fonzie's grandmother on "Happy Days").

Notably, comments on Bay's online petition included this one: "The old bag deserves it ;)"


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-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Frances Bay, photographed in 2008. Credit: Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press / Associated Press.