October 21, 2021

Nancy Kulp Hid Her True Sexuality until ‘Fatal Question’ & Was Married to a Man for 10 Years

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Nancy Kulp's true sexuality remained a secret for many years until the fan-favorite comedienne decided to come out on "Fatal Question." However, Kulp had been married to a man for many years before she opened up.

Nancy Jane Kulp was an American character actress famous for her role as Miss Jane Hathaway on "The Beverly Hillbillies." Despite being in the spotlight with most of her life activities in the news like most celebrities, Kulp kept a big part of herself well away from the paparazzi.

It is pretty notable that Kulp was married to Charles Malcolm Dacus for ten years before their divorce in 1961. However, the actress stunned all fans who knew about her love affair with Dacus when she eventually came out about her sexuality.


Portrait of actress Nancy Kulp on February 1984 | Photo: Getty Images


Once speaking about her time on "Beverly Hillbillies" and her character Miss Jane Hathaway in an interview, Kulp gave an interesting hint on her sexuality. The interview started with Kulp talking about the famous series.


She explained that the film was about a young lady who went to spend the summer with her sister and her sister's husband. She ended up falling in love with the husband's older brother, but the feeling wasn't reciprocated.

And, when the interviewer asked if the husband's brother was gay, the actress explained that in the '60s being gay wasn't properly spelled out. 

Publicity photo of guest star Jim Backus and Nancy Kulp from TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" | Photo: CBS Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Interestingly, Kulp also gave an indication of her sexuality. The comedienne also talked about Miss Hathaway being a subdued character and how she had a "big dark secret" she didn't intend to share.

But when the interviewer tried to ask about the secret, she decided to help out. Pretending to be the interviewer, the actress asked if she believed that opposites attract. However, she replied to her question by saying

"I'm the other sort-I find that birds of the same feather flock together. "

A still image of Fred Clark as Dr. Ray Clyburn, Nancy Kulp as Jane Hathaway and Raymond Bailey as Milburn Drysdale in an episode of TV show "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES" which aired on October 2, 1963 | Photo: Getty Images


"My Three Sons'" Beverly Garland also made some remarks about Kulp's sexuality. She noted that the actress didn't like a lot of men because she considered most of them not bright.

Garland also said she got to know about Kulp's health struggles through one of their mutual friends who was a lesbian bank examiner but also Kulp's lover at the time.

Picture of actress Nancy Kulp in her home on February 1984 in Port Royal, Pennsylvania | Photo: Getty Images



Miss Jane Hathaway is a diligent bank secretary. Fans know her to always respect her boss, Mr. Drysdale, a rich bank manager. Her signature suites and neckerchiefs are also something fans can never forget. And here is a look at Hathaway's wardrobe.

It took seven episodes before viewers saw Hathaway in a different outfit. The hilarious secretary got fans cracked up when she spotted an artist outfit. 

On the show's color episode, Hathaway did it again. This time she rocked a red-white-and-blue suit. She also completed her costume with a long blonde beard and a ridiculous hat.


A still of american actress Nancy Kulp as Miss Jane Hathaway from an episode of TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" which aired on April 23, 1965 | Photo: Getty Images

She took her outfits to a different level when she and her rival Elly took their fight for a suitor's attention to official grounds. Hathaway wore a mini dress during a beauty contest in the CBS show's third season. 


Well, Hathaway did only have comical outfits in her wardrobe. For the secretary's first evening look, she looked pretty classic in an elegant dress with a silk scarf around her shoulders and matching gloves. She completed her look with simple pearls. 

Actress Nancy Kulp in Tallahassee wearing button supporting FSU football circa 1963 | Photo: State Library and Archives of Florida, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Kulp also confirmed she got appreciated by many fans who thanked her for portraying a character who lived fine without a husband. And some even wanted to be like Miss Hathaway. 

The Lesbian News described Kulp as the role model for young lesbians in the '60s after playing Hathaway. A character who was a member of the feminine Biddle's Bird Watchers.

Lily Tomlin who later played Kulp's role in Penelope Spheeris's edition also acknowledged the movie icon as a role model.

Image still of Nancy Kulp as Jane Hathaway in an episode of TV show "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES" which aired on October 2, 1963 | Photo: Getty Images



Before taking a career in the movie industry, the actress started with a degree in journalism from Florida State University, writing articles for the Miami Beach Tropics in the early '40s. She began acting with uncredited parts before landing a much significant role in "Shane."

Her comedy skills were first seen on "The Bob Cummings Show" on television in the late 1950s, where she played a secretary, and in 1962, she got her unforgettable role on "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Actress Nancy Kulp poses for a portrait in circa 1966 | Photo: Getty Images


In 1984 the comedienne contested for Congress as a Democrat from Port Royal, PA., but she was defeated by Bud Shuster. And her "Beverly Hillbillies" co-star Buddy Ebsen publicly noted that she was too liberal. She later moved to Palm Springs, in California. 

Kulp was diagnosed with cancer in 1990. Sadly in 1991, her cancer spread even after she received chemotherapy. She eventually died on February 3, 1991, at 69, in Palm Desert, California. 


"Beverly Hillbillies" was recycled with new cast members but the same storyline as the initial Paul Henning's TV series. With the help of 20th-Century Fox and film director Penelope Spheeris, the new generation got to see more of "Beverly Hillbillies."

Publicity photo of American actress, Nancy Kulp, circa mid-1960s | Photo: Public Domain, Wkimedia Commons


Tomlin replaced Kulp's role as the diligent assistant of a greedy bank manager who wants some of the Clampetts' nouveaux riches. Leachman appeared to be a perfect Granny, and Eleniak found herself as a designer bimbo, played teenager Elly May, all of whose measurements were beyond her intelligence.

The hit CBS show saw Coleman as a banker who boasts about his success. Jethro is pretty silly, and there was an episode where he dressed in drag and acted like his sister Jelhrine and had to smooch with Schneider.

Image still of Nancy Kulp as Jane Hathaway in an episode of TV show "LOVE BOAT" which aired on December 8, 1979 | Photo: Getty Images


Buddy Ebsen and Donna Douglas reappeared for the new version, but Ray Young took the Max Baer Jr. role, and Imogene Coca starred as the clan's irascible matriarch.

James Albert Varney Jr. played Jed Clampett in a film adaptation of "The Beverly Hillbillies." He made Southerners look idiotic. However, the film promotes stories of Southern ignorance and big-city debauchery, and it is filled with mindless ethnic jokes.