Diana Bellamy; Character Actress

From a Times Staff Writer

Diana Bellamy, a character actress popular in regional theater who also appeared on television and in such movies as “Air Force One” and “Outrageous Fortune,” died of cancer June 17 at her home in Valley Village. She was 57.

Bellamy had a starring role as head nurse Maggie Poole in “13 East,” an NBC comedy in 1989-90. She also had roles on “Married . . . With Children,” “Life Goes On” and “Popular.”

She won the part of Principal Cecilia Hall in the WB high school drama “Popular” after cancer treatment aggravated her diabetes and caused blindness. Her character was also blind from diabetes.


“I had tried crying and being in a snit about [blindness],” she said in a 1999 interview, “but that was real boring. I’ve learned to live with it as best I can, and I feel very blessed that this has happened.”

On stage her most memorable appearances were in “The House of Blue Leaves” at the Pasadena Playhouse, “The Skin of Our Teeth” at San Diego’s Old Globe and the title role in “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” at Theatre Geo in Los Angeles.

Critics praised her portrayal of a snake handler in monologues called “Talking With . . . “ Times critic Ray Loynd wrote: “This is not an actress, this is a swamp woman holding a box with holes in it. When she pulls out her reptile--it’s a real snake--and it curls around her arm and she says ‘If you haven’t got the spirit, if you’re empty, it’ll bite you,’ Bellamy has crossed into her own realm.”