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Imogene Coca – MovieActors.com

Coca in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION.

About Imogene Coca (1908 – 2001)

Imogene Coca was born Imogene Fernandez de Coca on November 18, 1908, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sadie Brady Coca, a dancer and a magician was the mother of Imogene Coca. Imogene's mother also performed in Vaudeville. Imogene's father, Jose Fernandez de Coca, was a violinist and a conductor at a small Philadelphia Opera House.

As a young girl, Imogene Coca took piano lessons, vocal training, and dance classes. "I began as one of those horrible little children who sing with no voice."

She started her show business career as a thirteen in Vaudeville, as a child acrobat, who also tap danced, danced ballet.

At the age of fifteen, Imogene Coca left Philadelphia and went to New York where she debuted in the chorus of WHEN YOU SMILE, singing and dancing . Imogene's singing and dancing became her career in musical reviews and Manhattan clubs, cabarets, and summer stock.

It was in a Broadway stage production, where Imogene Coca's comedic talent began to surface. This new talent opened up a whole new career for her. When Imogene discovered by accident in this show, NEW FACES OF 1934, that she had this comedic gift, she built her skills during the next four summers in the Poconos resorts, along side talented comedians, including Danny Kaye and Carol Channing.

After the end of World War 2, Imogene got the opportunity to excel as a comedian on a 1949 NBC TV show, THE ADMIRAL BROADWAY REVUE, paired with Sid Ceasar. These two comedians were given another show, YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, for which she is best remembered.

Imogene Coca was most famous for playing opposite Sid Caesar in YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS on NBC from 1950-1954. Imogene was nominated for five Emmy awards for her performance on this the live, 90 minute TV series, YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS.

In 1954, both actors left the show to pursue other interests. Coca starred in her own show in 1954, IMOGENE COCA SHOW, but it only lasted one season. She also was the star of the TV series, GRINDL;(1963-1964), and the tv series, ITS ABOUT TIME;(1966-1967).

Imogene Coca's first husband, Robert Burton;(1935-1955) arranged music for many of her performances. Robert Burton died in 1955. Actor King Donovan;(1960-1987), was Imogene Coca's second husband who performed with her many times in stage productions. King Donovan died in 1987.

A devoted animal lover offstage showed Imogene Coca's tender spirit. It was reported that she was, offstage, a very shy person.

Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Imogene made a good living performing not only on the stage, but on TV series, in films, and TV movies.

IMOGENE made guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, and other series like BEWITCHED, NIGHT GALLERY, LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE;(1970,1972), TRAPPER JOHN, MD;(1980), MOONLIGHTING, (1988), MONSTERS (1989) and did voice work for GARFIELD AND FRIENDS;(1994).

Some of her best roles in films were in UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE;(1963), TEN FROM OUR SHOW OF SHOWS;(1973), NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION;(1983) and NOTHING LASTS FOREVER;(1984).

In 1973, Imogene Coca was in a serious car accident that blinded her in one eye.

On June 2, 2001, in Westport Connecticut, Imogene Coca passed away. At the time of her death, Coca was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

Imogene Coca's notable credits include...

HOLLYWOOD: THE MOVIE - 1996
50 YEARS OF FUNNY FEMALES - 1995
COMIC RELIEF VI - 1994
MONSTERS: THE FACE - 1989
ALICE IN WONDERLAND - TV - 1985
FANTASY ISLAND - TV - 1983
A GIFT OF MUSIC - 1984
THE BIG SHOW - TV - 1980
A SPECIAL SESAME STREET CHRISTMAS - TV - 1978
YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS - 1972 - 1973
THE ENCHANTED WORLD OF DANNY KAYE: THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES - TV
BEWITCHED - TV - 1971
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW - TV -1969
THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW - TV - 1966
UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE - 1963
SID CAESAR INVITES YOU - TV -1958
BUZZY WUZZY - TV - 1948
DIME A DANCE - 1937


Imogene Coca's awards include...

Emmy Award - 1952 - YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS
Peabody Award - 1954
Lucy Awards - 1995
American Comedy Awards - 1988 - Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy

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