June 13, 2024

Who Played Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies: Nancy Kulps Life

Nancy Kulp: A Life of Diverse Achievements

Nancy Kulp: A Life of Diverse Achievements

Nancy Kulp lived a life rich with diverse experiences, contributing significantly to the fields of entertainment, education, and politics. Born on August 28, 1921, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she was the only child of Robert Tilden Kulp, a traveling salesman, and Marjorie C. (née Snyder) Kulp, a schoolteacher who later became a principal. The family moved to Miami, Florida, before 1935.


In 1943, Nancy graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Florida State College for Women, now known as Florida State University. She went on to pursue a master's degree in English and French at the University of Miami, joining the sorority Pi Beta Phi. During this time, she also worked as a feature writer for the Miami Beach Tropics newspaper, profiling celebrities such as Clark Gable and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

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Military Service

Kulp joined the United States Naval Reserve in 1944 during World War II. She served with distinction, achieving the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, and earned several decorations, including the American Campaign Medal. She was honorably discharged in 1946.

Acting Career


After moving to Hollywood in 1951 to work in MGM's publicity department, director George Cukor encouraged her to try acting. Nancy made her film debut with "The Model and the Marriage Broker" in 1951. She went on to appear in numerous films such as "Shane," "Sabrina," "A Star is Born," "Forever, Darling," "The Three Faces of Eve," "The Parent Trap," "Who's Minding the Store?," and "The Aristocats."


Nancy Kulp's early TV roles included appearances on popular series like "The Bob Cummings Show," "Cheyenne," "It's a Great Life," "Colgate Theatre," "Bourbon Street Beat," "I Love Lucy," and "The Jack Benny Program."

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Breakout Role

Her most iconic role came as Jane Hathaway on "The Beverly Hillbillies." For her performance, she earned an Emmy nomination in 1967. She remained with the show until its cancellation in 1971. Later, she appeared on various shows such as "The Love Boat," "Quantum Leap," "The Brian Keith Show," and "Sanford and Son."


Kulp also had a successful career in theatre, performing in the Broadway production of "Morning's at Seven" from 1980 to 1981.

Politics, Academia, and Retirement

In 1984, Nancy Kulp ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic nominee but lost to Republican incumbent Bud Shuster. Her campaign faced unexpected contention, with opposition from her co-star Buddy Ebsen.

After her political bid, she served as an artist-in-residence at Juniata College and later taught acting. Kulp engaged in various charitable activities following her retirement, including work with the Humane Society of the Desert and United Cerebral Palsy.

Personal Life

Nancy Kulp married Charles Malcolm Dacus in 1951, but the couple divorced in 1961. In a 1989 interview, she alluded to her same-sex orientation by stating "birds of a feather flock together." Diagnosed with cancer in 1990, she passed away on February 3, 1991, in Palm Desert, California.

Death and Legacy

Nancy Kulp's remains were interred at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. She is remembered for her diverse contributions to film, television, theatre, education, and politics. Her legacy remains prominent, particularly through her beloved portrayal of Jane Hathaway on "The Beverly Hillbillies," and her various charitable endeavors.

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