Born Josie Imogene Rogers in Morehouse, Missouri on December 15, 1925, she adopted the nickname "Kasey" as a child. Despite her mother's interest in her performing and presenting herself like a lady, Kasey was always somewhat of a tomboy. In grade school, she was so good at baseball that the other kids nicknamed her "Casey" (after the "Casey at the Bat " poem). She took to the nickname and later changed the C to a K, one of the first signs of her creative flair.
But the elocution and music (piano and accordion) classes her mother enrolled her in as a child, in addition to the family moving to California when she was just two and half, sent Kasey on a path to the dramatic arts. She played the piano at several large venues when she was only 8 years old, and went on to perform in plays at Burbank High School in Burbank, CA.
Kasey attended Glendale College, and was a young war-time bride at the age of 19. She was literally spotted on the street by a talent scout, and touched base with him again after the birth of her first child. This lead to a screen test and contract at Paramount during the late 1940s. She really never struggled as an actress, she won a contract and lead role in Special Agent (1949) almost immediately. However, her young marriage would not last.
Kasey Rogers in the Late 1940s
Kasey worked under the name "Laura Elliot" for Paramount. In addition to Special Agent (1949), Kasey appeared in films including Two Lost Worlds (1951), Silver City (1951), Denver and Rio Grande (1952), and Jamaica Run (1953).
With these lead roles, smaller roles in classic films from the studio including Samson and Delilah (1949) and A Place in the Sun (1951 - uncredited role of Miss Harper), and appearances in pictures from other studios, Kasey was kept busy.
Particularly remembered is her turn as Miriam Haynes (who has a very memorable death scene) in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) for Warner Bros.
From the mid-1950s, she guest starred on various TV shows, such as The Lone Ranger, Maverick, Perry Mason, The Restless Gun, and Hawaiian Eye.
In 1964, she was cast as Julie Anderson on the popular night-time soap opera Peyton Place.
Kasey left Peyton Place in 1966, just in time to replace Irene Vernon in the role of Louise Tate on Bewitched, which required her to don a dark wig similar to the previous actress to aid in the transition for viewers. She also returned to the name Kasey Rogers professionally.
Although Kasey has said she played the role as it was written, viewers saw a new chemistry between Louise and David White's Larry Tate. She was playful and spunky, and really made this supporting role stand out in such episodes as "Bewitched, Bothered, and Infuriated" and "Mona Sammy." She often wore her own clothes on the set and later ditched the dark wig for her own auburn shag hair style.
Kasey as Louise Tate in Season 3
In 1972, she made her final appearance on Bewitched and appeared on a few more TV shows in the 1970s, such as Marcus Welby, MD and The Invisible Man. As an active mother of four, she made use of her skills by teaching acting and writing on a part-time basis. Kasey turned her talents to writing and development, including the proposed TV series, Son of a Witch and a movie screenplay for Bewitched Again, in which she collaborated with a young fan of Bewitched from Atlanta, Georgia named Mark Wood. Kasey and Mark met through Bewitched biographer Herbie J Pilato around 1990, and Kasey was struck with Mark's southern charm and creativity. They collaborated on a series of holiday-related craft books, as well as the collectible The Bewitched Cookbook: Magic in the Kitchen (out of print). She dedicated the Bewitched cookbook to her co-stars Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent, Agnes Moorehead, and to the fans of the show. The foreword was written by Sandra Gould, who played the second Gladys Kravitz on the show. She continued her affiliation with Bewitched by appearing on the E! True Hollywood Story about Bewitched, bonus material for the series's DVD set, and two TV Land Confidential episodes.
Kasey attended Bewitched-related conventions, photo and book signings, and made appearances for TV Land at awards ceremonies, as well as the Bewitched statue dedication in Salem, Mass on June 15, 2005. She was the first Bewitched cast member to do an interview with this site, and took every opportunity to promote the show because she relished her role as the first lady of advertising, Louise Tate.
Kasey Rogers Signing Autographs at the
Bewitched Statue Dedication
One interesting detour in Kasey's life is when she also took up motorcross racing in the early 1970s when her son Mike was competing. She established the Powder Puffs Unlimited Riders and Racers (PURR) association and promoted women's racing throughout the 1970s. She competed and claimed the nickname of "Wrong Way Kasey" from her fellow racers. She raced with the Dirt Diggers during their grand prix events at well known Southern California motorcycle parks. She also wrote a "Powder Puff" column for Modern Cycle Magazine and wrote feature stories on the mini-cycle nationals and other racing events. In 1977, she stopped racing when her son lost interest in the sport.
Kasey had several cancer battles, which she fought with that same spunk and positive energy she brought to the role of Louise Tate. Despite a raspy voice and trach tube, Kasey would throw on a scarf and head out to parties and events related to her beloved role on Bewitched. She also established a Head and Neck Cancer (H.A.N.C.) fund with the staff at University of Southern California Medical Center to continue with research and treatment of this debilitating disease. Details on donations to the fund are available on the front page of this Web site.
Kasey loved to entertain and had a large 80th birthday party last December surrounded by family, friends, her surviving Bewitched co-stars, director/producer Bill Asher, and even a few Bewitched fans. She appreciated and made the most out of each day. This is readily apparent on the "thank you" video she made for harpiesbizarre.com in April 2006 to show her appreciation for fans who were rallying in support of her ongoing cancer treatment.
VIDEO - 12.6 MB (Requires DivX codec)
After battling the reoccurring throat cancer, Kasey suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma from which she never recovered. She passed away on July 6, 2006. She is survived by her brother (James Rogers), four children (James Donnellan, Mona Lewis, Monika Winslow, and Michael Lewis), six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Never one to call her supporters "fans," she considered each one a "friend." And she treated them as such by responding to e-mails and letters, and printing out and saving each e-mail of support or post on our message board. Her #1 fan and writing partner, Mark Wood assisted her with her medical treatment, coordinated her public appearances, and kept her other fans in contact with her throughout this health crisis. She was a great friend, who was adored by many for being a lovely, courageous, and gracious woman.
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Other Sources:Pilato, Herbie J. The Bewitched Book: The Cosmic Companion to TV's Most Magical Supernatural Situation Comedy. Dell Publishing, 1992.Rogers, Kasey and Mark Wood. The Bewitched Cookbook: Magic in the Kitchen. Kensington Publishing Corp. 1996.McLellan, Dennis. Los Angeles Times. OBITUARIES "Kasey Rogers, 80; Veteran TV, Movie Actress." July 13, 2006.Photo at Lappin Park provided by Thomas MacDonald.Additional screen captures provided by Paul Bradley.