Frances Bay played the part of recurring character Grandma Nussbaum, Fonzie and Chachi's grandmother in three episodes of Happy Days in Seasons, 9, 10 and the series finale in Season 11. Frances replaced veteran actress Lillian Bronson, who originated the role in the Season 3 opening episode "Fonzie Moves In". in the role.

Life and careerEdit

A Canadian-American character actress, Frances appeared in a number of other films and television shows such as Happy Gilmore, Who's the Boss?, The X-Files, Grey's Anatomy along with many more. Frances was usually cast in grandmotherly roles. She worked with David Lynch on four productions, which were Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the latter two productions in which she played the role of Mrs. Tremond. She also made a memorable appearance on the NBC-TV series Seinfeld, in the episode titled "The Rye", as a woman who gets into a physical altercation with Jerry over a loaf of rye bread.[2]

Born Frances Evelyn Goffman in Mannville, Alberta to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, and raised in Dauphin, Manitoba, Frances's younger brother was the sociologist Erving Goffman. Before World War II, she acted professionally in Winnipeg and spent the war hosting the Canadian Broadcasting Company's radio show, "Everybody's Program", aimed at service members overseas.

Bay started her career in the 1930s as a radio actress.[3]

Family/Personal lifeEdit

She married Charles Irwin Bay (born December 15, 1918 – died June 18, 2002) in 1946, and moved to Cape Town, South Africa, living in the Constantia and Camps Bay areas. She studied with Uta Hagen at this time.[4] Charles and Frances Bay had one son, Josh (Eli Joshua; March 14, 1947 – June 6, 1970), who died at the age of 23.{


Frances passed away on September 15, 2011 in Tarzana, CA of complications from pneumonia; she was 92 years old.[2][3] In 2002, Frances was involved in an auto accident in Glendale, CA, which required her to have her leg amputated below the knee.[2]


  1. Cavan, Sherri (July 2011). "When Erving Goffman was a Boy". University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). p. 4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Oliver, Myrna. ""Frances Bay dies at 92; veteran character actress"", Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2011. Retrieved on August 10, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Zakarin, Jordan. "Frances Bay Dead: 'Happy Gilmore', 'Seinfeld' Actress Passes Away At 92", Huffington Post, September 18, 2011. Retrieved on April 5, 2016. 
  4. Michael Posner, "Seinfeld's marble rye lady honoured", Toronto Globe and Mail, September 6, 2008, pg. R4

External linksEdit

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