Polly Bergen, the US actress best known for her roles in such classic films as Cape Fear and for her television appearances on The Sopranos and Desperate Housewives, has died at the age of 84.

Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen has died at the age of 84.

Bergen was born in 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her career began in the late 1940s and she became a household name when she starred in The Helen Morgan Story, for which she won an Emmy award in 1958. 

She enjoyed a long and varied career, starring opposite actors such as Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin and Doris Day. During the 1950s she appeared in a number of comedic films including At War with the Army, That's My Boy, and The Stooge. In all three films she starred opposite Martin and Jerry Lewis

She won critical acclaim when she starred in the 1962 film Cape Fear with Peck and Mitchum. Two years later she portrayed a US president in Kisses for My President, becoming the first woman to play a female president, according to USA Today.

During the 1980s she starred in the hugely popular ABC mini-series Winds of War and its sequel, War and Remembrance. In more recent years, Bergen featured in The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's mistress Fran Felstein and in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella Wingfield.

Polly Bergen and Chris Colfer
Polly Bergen and Chris Colfer. Colfer has expressed his sadness at the loss of his friend on social media.

Bergen was married once to Hollywood talent agent Freddie Fields. They married in 1957 and divorced after eighteen years, in 1975. Bergen had three children with Fields: Peter Fields, Kathy Lander and Pamela Fields. She is survived by her three children and three grandchildren.

A number of people within the acting community have mourned Bergen's loss. Actor and comedian Michael McKean described Bergen as "a smart, beautiful, talented woman" on Twitter. John Stamos shared one of Bergen's songs 'The Party's Over' and wrote "The party has just begun, my love." 

Bergen's former Desperate Housewives co-star Dana Delany, who played Katharine Mayfair on the show, tweeted: "I adored Polly Bergen. She was a broad ahead of her time who lived a fascinating & varied life. She will be missed." Another of Bergen's co-stars Glee's Chris Colfer mourned her loss on Instagram. Colfer, who played Bergen's grandson in Struck By Lightning, wrote "Farewell to my dear friend, Polly. I'm so blessed to have had you in my life. No one could make me smile or laugh like you. I will miss you with all my heart. "Grandma" for a movie, but family for life."

Contactmusic send their condolences to Polly Bergen's family and friends.