The New Stuff

Happy Gilmore's Grandma Frances Bay Dead at 92


LOS ANGELES, Calif. –“RIP”-- Character actress Frances Bay, famous for playing Adam Sandler’s grandmother in “Happy Gilmore,” and "the marble rye lady" on Seinfeld, died Thursday. She was 92.

Bay died Thursday at Providence Tarzana Medical Center in Los Angeles, her cousin Marly Zaslov of Vancouver told the Los Angeles Times. Bay had been ill with various infections.

The Canadian born Bay began her acting career when she was almost 60 with a small part in the 1978 comedy "Foul Play," starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

“I don’t know if it was women’s lib or something that kind of turned inside of me, but I just started doing it: I got new pictures, started pounding the pavement, went to agents–and I got work,” Bay told the Los Angeles Times in 1986.

Throughout the 1980s, Bay made appearances on such shows as The Jeffersons, Dukes of Hazard and Happy Days.

In a 1996 episode of Seinfeld, Bay was cast as the old lady with the marble rye that is victimized by Jerry when he steals it from her outside a bakery.  The character, Mable Choate, returned as a neighbor of Jerry's parents — and the deciding vote in Jerry's dad's impeachment as president of the condo association — in "The Cadillac (Part 2)" and as a prosecution witness in the series finale.

Despite having part of her right leg amputated after she was struck by a car in 2002, Bay continued to work with appearances on Hannah Montana and the Middle.

In 2008, Bay was inducted into Canada’s Walk of fame, thanks in part to a letter-writing campaign by Bay’s celebrity friends and co-workers, including Adam Sandler and Henry Winkler. The selection committee also received a petition with over 10,000 names on her behalf.

Bay’s husband and childhood sweetheart died in 2002, and her son died at the age of 23.

“I always wanted to be an actress,” Bay told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. “And it wasn’t ego. I felt so little about myself and I considered myself such a sparrow. Not just my size: I thought I was so plain. . . . I did play not to show off but because if I did that–I didn’t realize it at the time–I would be somebody other than this person I didn’t really approve of. I guess that’s true of a lot of actors.”

Funeral services have yet to be announced.

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