The actress died after battling brain cancer and complications from COVID-19

By Nicholas Rice
July 10, 2020 01:36 PM
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Credit: Walt Disney Television via Getty

Brandis Kemp, the actress best known for her appearances on the television shows Fridays and AfterMASH, has died after battling brain cancer and complications from COVID-19. She was 76.

Kemp died July 4 at her home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was surrounded by family and friends, actress and acting coach Myra Turley told the outlet.

Kemp was diagnosed with glioblastoma — an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord — last December at age 75, and it is unclear how long ago she contracted COVID-19.

On Fridays, the weekly late-night live comedy show that aired on ABC from 1980 to 1982, Kemp starred as an ensemble cast member where she acted alongside Larry David and Michael Richards, who both later went on to greater fame with Seinfeld. On AfterMASH, Kemp starred as Alma Cox, opposite actors from the original M*A*S*H including Jamie Farr, Harry Morgan and William Christopher, for the sitcom produced as the second spin-off and continuation of M*A*S*H, airing on CBS from 1983 to 1985.

Kemp also made appearances on other shows such as The Wonder Years and ER in the 1980s and 1990s.

Credit: 20th Century Fox Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

Born in Palo Alto, California, in Feb. 1944, Kemp — whose real name was Vivian Sally Kemp — was born to Vida Kernohan and John Lloyd Kemp.

After receiving her Master's Degree in drama and literature from Stanford and studying at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, she met her future husband, fellow actor Mark Blankfield, while performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The pair would go on to marry and then later divorce.

According to Deadline, Kemp's passion was Native American culture, gardening, and DIY projects.

After learning that her home needed to be re-stuccoed, Brandis taught herself to stucco, got on a ladder and did it herself in November 2019, according to the outlet.

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Her parents, her sister and her brother predeceased her but she is survived by other family members, including her niece, Sharon Lea, and her nephews, David and Scott Ronsse. She will be buried in the family plot in Mount Shasta Memorial Park in California.

Donations can be made in her name to the American Brain Tumor Association.

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