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Kim Hamilton passes away at 81; One of the first African-American actresses on "Days"
Topic Started: Sep 28 2013, 11:20 PM (966 Views)
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SEPTEMBER 12, 1932-SEPTEMBER 16, 2013

(Various Roles, 1960s-1980s)

Actress Kim Hamilton, 81, who was one of the first African-American actresses to appear on "Days of Our Lives", has passed away. Hamilton died of undisclosed causes on September 16, 2013. Although her date of birth was greatly exaggerated over the years (some sites still say she was born as late as 1946), she was actually born Dorothy May Aiken on September 12, 1932. Hamilton played several nurses on "Days" in the 1960s and 1970s and later would play Penelope Wade, the mother of Abe Carver's girlfriend, Nikki Wade, in 1982.

In a TV Guide interview in the September 7, 1963 edition, Hamilton stated that she wanted to be a lawyer before she decided to become an actress. "[In 1962], when her former press agent took her to court over $75 they say she owed them, she showed what sort of lawyer she would have made. 'My own lawyer said I didnít have a chance...but I decided to use my experience as an actress and improved.' She studied a couple of law books, went to court without a lawyer, talked for three hours, and won the case.

The article continued that Hamilton "began studying acting at Los Angeles City College. 'But I got bored with it...We never did anything - it was all in books.' She left after one semester and enrolled in acting school. 'I was there almost a year. All the other girls got cards from agents and casting directors, but I never did. I was ready to give up. Then I played the part of a silly secretary and got three cards.' One of the cards led to her first professional role, as Andyís girl friend in Amos Ďní Andy."

Her acting career spanned over six decades. Hamilton appeared on countless hit TV shows, from "The Twilight Zone", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Leave it to Beaver" in the 1960s; "All in the Family", "Kojak" and "Sanford and Son" in the 1970s; "The Jeffersons", "St. Elsewhere" and "Designing Women" in the 1980s; "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "In the Heat of the Night" and "Law and Order" in the 1990s. Her final acting role was on an episode of "Private Practice" in 2008.

According to an Associated Press article from 2007, "[Hamilton] was the last surviving black adult actor with a speaking role in the 1962 classic film To Kill a Mockingbird...In one of the movie's climactic scenes, Hamilton, in the role of Helen Robinson, falls to the floor after learning her husband has been killed, and Gregory Peck, as Atticus Finch, scoops her up and carries her to safety." Hamilton stated: "[Peck] was such a gentleman, so concerned about protecting my knees so that I wouldn't hurt myself...I never forgot that."

In addition to "Days", her soap career included roles on "The Clear Horizon", "General Hospital", "The Young and the Restless", and "Guiding Light." She was a series regular on the primetime series "Executive Suite" and "Trade Winds."

She was married to actor Werner Klemperer from 1997 until his death in 2000. She was predeceased by her son, Robert. Survivors include her daughter, Tanya; son-in-law Henry; four grandchildren, Dana, Corey, Aaron and Cohen; and three great-grandchildren.

To hear Hamilton herself discuss her long-time career, here's an interview she did in 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js3PALKaM5w
Edited by Jason47, Sep 29 2013, 01:06 AM.
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TFP Jason.
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I'm very sorry to read this. I used to see her in just about every show I watched while growing up in the 60s and 70s, and of course, remember her on Days. Thanks Jason!
Edited by jam6242, Sep 29 2013, 06:30 AM.
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Thanks Jason and R.I.P. to Ms. Hamilton
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Thanks for posting, Jason. I remember her well. She was a beautiful woman.
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Grandpa Hughes
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"Dedicated to the brotherhood of healing. "

Thank you for posting. Oddly, I just saw her in an old sixties horror film last night. It was 1960's The Leech Woman. She had a featured role. The horror show host does BIOS of the cast during breaks. He mentioned Miss Hamilton being on several prime time classic shows. He also mentioned her being on DAYS. The segment was done before her death. I hadn't thought of her in ages before watching the movie. RIP.
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