Fay Baker (born Fay Schwager, January 31, 1917, died December 8, 1987) was an American stage, film and television actress, and a successful author under the pen name Beth Holmes. Her novel, The Whipping Boy, made the Los Angeles Times bestseller list in 1978. She also published, under her own name, My Darling, Darling Doctors.
Fay Schwager's career began in New York with roles on Broadway in the early 1940s. She changed her name to Baker (from her mother's family) in 1944 in Another Love Story at New York's Fulton Theatre. She was "discovered" by Alfred Hitchcock in 1946 and given the role of Ethel in Notorious. While the part was minor, she told her daughter that Hitchcock made her stay on the set for the entire film shoot. The director felt that since he was paying her salary, she should be standing by at all times. She claimed she had had a larger role in the film but that much of her work ended up on the cutting room floor.
Baker remained in Hollywood for nearly two decades, acting in two dozen films with star billing in The House on Telegraph Hill(1950). During her California years, she also appeared frequently on television. She is credited with guest parts on 30 different series beginning with Your Show Time in 1949 up to her final performance on Dr. Kildare in 1963. Her roles included comedy sitcoms (Hazel,The Donna Reed Show), drama (Perry Mason), and westerns (Have Gun - Will Travel). In 1958 she made two guest appearances onPerry Mason, playing Marian Newburn in "The Case of the Demure Defendant" and Stephanie Sabin in "The Case of the Perjured Parrot".
Baker married writer/producer Arthur Weiss on August 3, 1940, in New York City. They had two children, her son Jonathan being born in 1950, before divorcing in 1965. While Weiss remained in California working for Irwin Allen, she returned to New York City with her two children and began a new career as an author.
After her son Jonathan died from a drug overdose in 1971, Fay dedicated herself to the topic of how parents enable bad behavior in children. This inspired her most successful novel, The Whipping Boy (1978), which focused on the "emotional abuse" of children. She used the pen name "Beth Holmes" to shield her family from being compared with fictional characters in the novel.
My Darling, Darling Doctors
Fay was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and described the experience humorously in her first published book, My Darling, Darling Doctors, in 1975. She lost her 15-year battle with breast cancer on December 8, 1987, at age 70.