'Hollywood's Grandma' Frances Bay dies

Frances Bay, the veteran Canadian actress dubbed "Hollywood's Grandma" for her turn in films like Happy Gilmore and TV shows such as Seinfeld, has died at the age of 92.

Frances Bay, the veteran Canadian character actress dubbed "Hollywood's Grandma" for her turn in films like Happy Gilmore and TV shows such as Seinfeld, has died at the age of 92.

Manitoba-born Bay died Thursday at a Los Angeles-area hospital after battling an infection, according to her family.

Raised in Dauphin, Man., Bay got an early taste of show business in school dramas and, later, as a radio actress and host of the CBC Radio show Everybody's Program in the 1940s.

She married and became a housewife, but returned to the entertainment world in the late 1970s, when her husband's job took the couple to the U.S., eventually to Los Angeles. She developed a career portraying quirky and eccentric older women, beginning with a role in the Goldie Hawn film Foul Play when she was nearly 60.

On television, Bay portrayed Fonzie's grandmother on Happy Days and also made appearances on shows such as The Jeffersons, The Dukes of Hazzard, Who's the Boss, Road to Avonlea (for which she won a Gemini Award) and ER.

One of her most notable cameos was on Seinfeld, as an elderly woman with whom Jerry Seinfeld holds a tug of war over a loaf of marble rye and whom he runs into on other fateful occasions.

David Lynch cast Bay in several of his productions, including in TV's Twin Peaks and the films Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet.

In the late 1990s, the character actress hit another pop culture peak after portraying Adam Sandler's grandmother in Happy Gilmore.

She was also a veteran of the L.A. regional theatre scene, appearing in a host of plays. More recently, she continued to make appearances on TV programs such as Hannah Montana and The Middle despite having had part of one leg amputated after a car accident in 2002.

To help celebrate her 90th birthday, Bay's relatives launched a campaign for the actress to be recognized on Canada's Walk of Fame. She received the honour — alongside performers such as Bryan Adams, Michael J. Fox, k.d. lang, The Kids in the Hall, director James Cameron, basketball star Steve Nash and model Daria Werbowy — in Toronto in 2008.