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July 20, 2006

Actress Kasey Rogers Passes

Peyton Place, Bewitched & More

Los Angeles, CA Kasey Rogers, a veteran actress best known to television viewers for her work on the 1960s series Peyton Place and Bewitched, died July 6 at USC University Hospital. Rogers, who was 80, passed away due to a stroke brought on by complications of treatment for throat cancer.

Born Imogene Rogers on December 15, 1925, in Morehouse, Missouri, Rogers moved with her family to Burbank as a child. She earned the nickname Casey — a reference to the poem “Casey at the Bat” — as a result of her hitting prowess in grade-school baseball and later changed the C to a K.

She began performing in junior high school, and continued to appear in plays throughout high school. An encounter with a talent agent led to a screen test with Paramount Pictures, who signed her to a contract in the late 1940s and early ’50s.

Billed as Laura Elliott, she appeared in several movies, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 thriller Strangers on a Train, in which she played Farley Granger’s estranged wife, Miriam, who is strangled to death by Bruno, the deranged character played by Robert Walker.

Her other film credits include Special Agent, Denver and Rio Grande and Silver City.

She eventually began to work extensively in television as well. On Peyton Place, by which time she had reverted to her own name, Rogers played Julie Anderson, mother of Betty Anderson (Barbara Parkins). On Bewitched, she replaced Irene Vernon as Louise Tate, wife of Darrin Stephens’ boorish boss Larry Tate (David White). Her other TV credits include episodes of Wanted: Dead or Alive, Bat Masterson, Cheyenne, Maverick, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip and Adam-12.

In the 1970s Rogers underwent an unexpected career change when she began racing motorcycles after her son, Mike, took up the sport. She also became a motorcycle journalist. In addition to a column on women’s racing for Modern Cycle magazine and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, she wrote feature stories on racing events.

In 1974 Rogers founded the PowderPuffs Unlimited Riders and Racers association and led efforts to establish the first Powder Puff national race. In 1975, she convinced the promoter of the Superbowl of Motocross, held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, to allow 10 top women to compete in a Women's Invitational Trophy Dash. She stopped racing in 1977.

In recent years, Rogers turned her talents to writing and development, including the proposed new TV series Son of a Witch.

Rogers, who was married and divorced twice, is survived by a brother, four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. In lieu of flowers and cards the family has requested donations to the USC Head and Neck Cancer Center.

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