Kaye Ballard Exits Stage Left With Farewell Show

Rancho Mirage actress bows out of public appearances with one final performance

Michelle Roe Arts & Entertainment


At 88 years old, Kaye Ballard is leaving the stage.

Well, not exactly.

The award-winning actress and Rancho Mirage resident has decided to “not retire”, but forego future personal appearances.

To celebrate and close the curtain on that part of her career, Ballard will perform a two-hour farewell show, “Going Out of Business”, a play on her life March 11 at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

Ballard gave Palm Springs Life some personal reflections upon her career as well as some thoughts about her future.

On her break into show business

  • I knew what I wanted to do when I was 5. I was in a movie house and I just knew. I impersonated everyone I saw.
  • I’ve been performing since I was 10 or 12 years old…so at least 76 years. I was lucky.
  • I started on radio and I have naturally dark circles and people thought I was older, so I said I was older. I lied about my age because I wanted to get a work permit to go into entertaining.

Her inspirations

  • Judy Garland inspired me the most.
  • Martha Rae. Very talented people.
  • My grandmother was important to me. My nonna. She encouraged me when not many people did. My mother thought I was crazy and my father didn’t like show business.

On today’s talents

  • I love Kristen Wiig.
  • Catherine O’Hara. Really talented creative people.
  • I love the whole cast of Saturday Night Live.
  • I would build a statue for Mr. Ted Turner. Turner Classic Movies keeps the classics alive for young people.
  • I like Joan Rivers. She tells the truth. There is always an element of truth in every thing she says. I love her.

In her spare time…

  • I go to movies, I read, I have lunch with people that I like.
  • I love Palm Springs.
  • I love Rancho Mirage where I live.
  • I’m so proud of the Coachella Valley…The Indian Wells Tennis Gardens, and the Palm Springs Film Festival.
  • There are so many restaurants…it’s fun to decide where to eat. I love Tiramisu, French Corner and of course, Mimmo’s.

On retirement

  • I’m not retiring.
  • I’ll do voiceover or movies. But I’m stopping personal appearances, locally or anywhere because it’s gotten too hard. I’ve had an interesting life. But I’m 88 years old.  It’s time to stop and smell the popcorn.

On her farewell show “Going Out of Business!”

  • It will be fun.
  • There’s lots of singing and entertainment.
  • There will be fun surprises.
  • I’ll sing a beautiful Italian song.

And with that, Ballard closed the interview with a lively, “Ciao Baby!!"

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