Short Info

DiedJuly 2, 1998, New York City, New York, United States
SpouseWilliam Spier, Jack Jenney
FactShe dreamed up her mischievous Eloise character during a 1954 singing gig in New York.

Kay Thompson (1909-1998) was an American author, composer, musician, and actress. She is best known for her work on the “Eloise” series of children’s books.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Thompson was the daughter of vaudeville performers. She began her own career as a performer at an early age, appearing in vaudeville and burlesque shows. She also worked as a model and nightclub singer.

In the 1940s, Thompson wrote and composed songs for the “Eloise” books, which were illustrated by Hilary Knight. The books were published between 1955 and 1959 and became popular with children and adults alike.

Thompson’s other works include the “Fancy Nancy” series of books and the musical “The King and I.” She also appeared in several films, including “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964) and “Funny Girl” (1968).

In her later years, Thompson lived in New York City and continued to perform and write. She died in 1998 at the age of 89.

General Info

Full NameKay Thompson
DiedJuly 2, 1998, New York City, New York, United States
Height1.66 m
ProfessionActor, Author, Singer, Film Score Composer
EducationWashington University in St. Louis, Soldan International Studies High School


SpouseWilliam Spier, Jack Jenney
ParentsLeo George Fink, Hattie A. George
SiblingsLeo Fink, Marian Fink, Blanche Fink


MoviesEloise At Christmastime, Eloise at the Plaza, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, Funny Face, Ziegfeld Follies, Manhattan Merry-Go-Round, Eloise in Paris
TV ShowsMe, Eloise

Social profile links


1I've discovered the secret of life. A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a whole lot of tra la la.
2Failure is a stranger to me. Enthusiasm and imagination can carry you anywhere you want to go, without Vuitton luggage.


1Goddaughter Liza Minnelli, during her 2008 tour, devoted much of her performance to recreating Kay's famed nightclub act, using her trademark music.
2On May 11, 2003, the late Kay was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
3Was portrayed by Sonja Smits in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001).
4Her first husband was esteemed Big Band trombonist/band leader Jack Jenney, who also play with Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw during his brief career. She later married William Spier, one of the top writer/producers of radio drama during its heyday. Both marriages ended in divorce.
5She once nixed Ivana Trump's offer to build an "Eloise" room in the Plaza Hotel.
6She dreamed up her mischievous Eloise character during a 1954 singing gig in New York.
7Godmother of Liza Minnelli.
8Entertainer Danny Kaye often made gag appearances dressed up and made up to look like Thompson.




New Year's Eve2011writer: "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells"
Good Morning America2007TV Series writer - 1 episode
Susana Giménez2007TV Series writer - 1 episode
MGM: When the Lion Roars1992TV Mini-Series documentary lyrics - 1 episode
One Day at a TimeTV Series lyrics - 1 episode, 1979 music - 1 episode, 1979
The Mike Douglas Show1969TV Series performer - 1 episode
Funny Face1957performer: "Think Pink!", "Bonjour, Paris!", "On How to Be Lovely", "Clap Yo' Hands"
The Ed Sullivan Show1954TV Series lyrics - 1 episode
Lady Possessed1952music: "More Wonderful Than These"
No Leave, No Love1946writer: "Love on a Greyhound Bus", "Isn't It Wonderful?" - uncredited
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood1945arranger: "Fun on the Wonderful Midway" - uncredited
Ziegfeld Follies1945lyrics: "A Great Lady Has An Interview Madame Crematante"
Thrill of a Romance1945lyrics: "Vive L'Amour" - uncredited
Lost in a Harem1944"Sons of the Desert" 1944, uncredited
I Dood It1943arranger: "Jericho" 1919
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round1937"I Owe You", uncredited / performer: "All Over Nothing at All" - uncredited

Music Department

Funny Face1957vocal arranger - uncredited
Good News1947vocal arranger
Till the Clouds Roll By1946vocal arranger
No Leave, No Love1946vocal arranger
The Kid from Brooklyn1946vocal arrangements
The Harvey Girls1946vocal arranger
Week-End at the Waldorf1945choral arrangement
Ziegfeld Follies1945vocal arranger
Meet the People1944vocal arranger
Two Girls and a Sailor1944vocal arrangements
Broadway Rhythm1944vocal arranger


Me, Eloise2006-2007TV Series book - 5 episodes
Eloise at Christmastime2003TV Movie book
Eloise at the Plaza2003TV Movie book
Standard Oil New Jersey Presents Its 75th Anniversary Entertainment1957TV Movie
Ziegfeld Follies1945uncredited


Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon1970Miss Gregory
The Dick Powell Theatre1961TV SeriesMrs. Pierce
Funny Face1957Maggie Prescott
The Kid from Brooklyn1946Matron
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round1937Ensemble Leader (uncredited)


The Judy Garland Show1962TV Special creative consultant


That's Entertainment! III1994Documentary grateful acknowledgment: to the music arrangers and orchestrators
That's Entertainment, Part II1976Documentary acknowledgement: the special style and content of the musical sequences were created by
That's Entertainment!1974acknowledgment: helped to give films their special style and sound


The Hollywood Palace1969TV SeriesHerself
The Joey Bishop Show1968TV SeriesHerself
The Garry Moore Show1961TV SeriesHerself
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1958-1960TV SeriesHerself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1957-1960TV SeriesHerself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show1958TV SeriesHerself
The Patrice Munsel Show1958TV SeriesHerself
Today1957TV SeriesHerself
Standard Oil New Jersey Presents Its 75th Anniversary Entertainment1957TV MovieHerself
The Ed Sullivan Show1950-1957TV SeriesHerself
Playhouse 901956TV SeriesHerself / Herself - Announcing Next Week's Show
Person to Person1956TV Series documentaryHerself
Cinépanorama1956TV Series documentaryHerself
Texaco Star Theatre1954-1955TV SeriesHerself - Singer / Actress
The Kate Smith Evening Hour1951TV SeriesHerself
Liza with a Z1972TV SpecialHerself - Audience Member (uncredited)
The Mike Douglas Show1969-1971TV SeriesHerself - Singer / Dancer / Herself
The Joan Rivers Show1969TV SeriesHerself
Allen Ludden's Gallery1969TV SeriesHerself

Archive Footage

Kay Thompson: Think Pink!2009Video documentary shortHerself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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