Gilmore Girls fans know Kelly Bishop best as Emily Gilmore, Lorelai’s ever-disappointed mother. Before Bishop took on the role of the Gilmore matriarch, she appeared in a series of plays, movies, and television shows. One of her most famous roles before Gilmore Girls came in the cult classic, Dirty Dancing. One episode of Gilmore Girls referenced the famous movie, effectively paying homage to Bishop’s previous work.
Kelly Bishop appeared as Marjorie Houseman in ‘Dirty Dancing’
Kelly Bishop may be best known now for her role in Gilmore Girls. There were plenty of film and tv projects before that, though. 13 years before becoming Emily, Bishop took on the part of Marjorie Houseman in Dirty Dancing.
The famed movie centers around Frances “Baby” Houseman and her romance with Johnny Castle, a member of the entertainment staff at an upscale Catskill resort. While Baby’s parents, Jake and Marjorie Houseman, forbid Baby from seeing Johnny, she refuses. Johnny is fired for spending time with Baby. Baby and Johnny dance together at the summer’s final performance, and Johnny manages to win over the Housemans.
The movie was a box office hit. With a budget of just $4.5 million, the movie went on to earn $170 million worldwide in 1987, according to The Age. The film also took home an Oscar for its music.
‘Gilmore Girls’ referenced the flick in season 2
Gilmore Girls was never short on pop culture references. Over the course of seven seasons, Lorelai, Rory, Emily, and Richard Gilmore referenced various shows, books, and movies. Bishop’s most famous role before Gilmore Girls was even referenced once.
In the season 2 episode, “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore,” Rory agrees to participate in a debutante ball to make Emily happy. Rory and her boyfriend, Dean Forrester, must learn the waltz to participate. Miss Patty takes over teaching the young couple the dance, with Lorelai and Christopher Hayden watching on.
Lorelai casually references Dirty Dancing when she says, “Hey! Nobody puts baby in the corner!” The famous quote was originally spoken by Patrick Swayze, who portrayed Johnny Castle in the film’s final moments.
What is Kelly Bishop working on now?
Bishop might be in her 70s now, but she’s showing no signs of slowing down. The famed actor is still actively working and hasn’t completely discounted the possibility of reprising her role as Emily Gilmore one more time if the stars happen to align.
If a second revival does get made, fans hope Emily’s storyline will be just as interesting and spirited as her first revival storyline. Until that happens, they can see her elsewhere. Bishop recently appeared in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, another creation by Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’s also filming The Watchful Eye, a drama series set to premiere on Freeform.
According to Deadline, the series is a Hitchcockian contemporary thriller. It deals with a woman who finds herself suddenly thrust into the world of old money. Bishop takes on the role of Mrs. Ivey. She is set to appear in at least six episodes.