Saturday, September 28, 2013

RIP Kim Hamilton

Actress Kim Hamilton, 81, who was one of the first African-American actresses to appear on "Days of Our Lives", has passed away. Hamilton died of undisclosed causes on September 16, 2013. Although her date of birth was greatly exaggerated over the years (some sites still say she was born as late as 1946), she was actually born Dorothy May Aiken on September 12, 1932. Hamilton played several nurses on "Days" in the 1960s and 1970s and later would play Penelope Wade, the mother of Abe Carver's girlfriend, Nikki Wade, in 1982.

In a TV Guide interview in the September 7, 1963 edition, Hamilton stated that she wanted to be a lawyer before she decided to become an actress. "[In 1962], when her former press agent took her to court over $75 they say she owed them, she showed what sort of lawyer she would have made. 'My own lawyer said I didn’t have a chance...but I decided to use my experience as an actress and improved.' She studied a couple of law books, went to court without a lawyer, talked for three hours, and won the case.

The article continued that Hamilton "began studying acting at Los Angeles City College. 'But I got bored with it...We never did anything - it was all in books.' She left after one semester and enrolled in acting school. 'I was there almost a year. All the other girls got cards from agents and casting directors, but I never did. I was ready to give up. Then I played the part of a silly secretary and got three cards.' One of the cards led to her first professional role, as Andy’s girl friend in Amos ‘n’ Andy."

Her acting career spanned over six decades. Hamilton appeared on countless hit TV shows, from "The Twilight Zone", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Leave it to Beaver" in the 1960s; "All in the Family", "Kojak" and "Sanford and Son" in the 1970s; "The Jeffersons", "St. Elsewhere" and "Designing Women" in the 1980s; "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "In the Heat of the Night" and "Law and Order" in the 1990s. Her final acting role was on an episode of "Private Practice" in 2008.

Hamilton also appeared in the classic film "To Kill a Mockingbird." In addition to "Days", her soap career included roles on "The Clear Horizon", "General Hospital", "The Young and the Restless", and "Guiding Light." She was a series regular on the primetime series "Executive Suite" and "Trade Winds."

She was married to actor Werner Klemperer from 1997 until his death in 2000. She was predeceased by her son, Robert. Survivors include her daughter, Tanya; son-in-law Henry; four grandchildren, Dana, Corey, Aaron and Cohen; and three great-grandchildren.

Born: 9/12/1932, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 9/16/2013, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Kim Hamilton’s westerns – actress:
Whiplash (TV) – 1961 (Martin)
Stoney Burke (TV) – 1962 (Beth Ann Sutter)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1966 (Naomi)