Perhaps best known for her quirky, heartfelt performances in such TV series as Sisters, Pushing Daisies, and currently, as Melissa McCarthy’s outrageous mother on Mike & Molly, Emmy Award and two-time Tony Award-winning actress Swoosie Kurtz has entertained audiences for decades. Now, she shares her journey from Nebraska to the theater stages of Broadway and the television and movie screens of Hollywood: from her first appearance on The Donna Reed Show, to her Tony Award-winning roles in Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July and John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves, to her much-heralded turns in popular TV shows and films.
But her life off-screen has been just as extraordinary. Her father Frank was an Olympic diving medalist, and later became one of the most decorated aviators in American history. During World War II, he flew a record number of missions in a cobbled-together B-17D Flying Fortress called The Swoose (part swan, part goose). Swoosie’s mother Margo chronicled the early years with Frank in My Rival, the Sky, a homefront memoir published by Putnam in 1945. Margo’s book ends with the couple happily anticipating the birth of a baby who will be named after the indomitable Swoose.