Kay Linaker

Mary Katherine Linaker (July 19, 1913 – April 18, 2008) was an American actress and screenwriter who appeared in many B movies during the 1930s and 1940s, most notably Kitty Foyle (1940) starring Ginger Rogers. Linaker used her married name, Kate Phillips,[2] as a screenwriter, notably for the cult movie hit The Blob (1958). She is credited with coining the name "The Blob" for the movie, which was originally titled "The Molten Meteor".[1]

Kay Linaker
Linaker in the 1930s
Mary Katherine Linaker

(1913-07-19)July 19, 1913
DiedApril 18, 2008(2008-04-18) (aged 94)
Other namesKate Phillips
Kay Linaker-Phillips
Years active1936–1945
Spouse(s)Howard Phillips (1945–1985) (his death) (2 children)
ChildrenBill Phillips
Regina Phillips[1]


Linaker was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and graduated from a private school in Connecticut and from New York University. She went on to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3]

Linaker acted in supporting roles on Broadway before signing a film contract with Warner Bros.[1] She was signed by the studio after a talent scout saw her in Jackson White at the Providencetown Theater.[4] Her Broadway credits included Every Man for Himself (1940), and Yesterday's Orchids (1934).[5] She briefly changed her name to Lynn Acker "for screen purposes",[6] but she soon dropped that name.[7] Most of her film work had her in limited roles, with her one leading role coming in The Girl from Mandalay (1936).[2] Her screen debut was in From this Dark Stairway (1935).[8]

Linaker wrote for the Voice of America during World War II in addition to working for the Red Cross.[2]

She later taught in the film studies department at Keene State College in New Hampshire from 1980 to 2006.[9]

From the 1960s to her death, Linaker dedicated much of her time supporting the children at Hampshire Country School in Rindge, New Hampshire. Linaker volunteered countless hours over the many years as English teacher and drama coach at the very small private school for twice exceptional children whose alumni include Temple Grandin.

Personal life

Linaker was married to Howard Phillips, who initially was a singer and writer but later worked as an executive with NBC television.[10]


On April 18, 2008, Linaker died in Keene, New Hampshire.[2]

Partial filmography


  1. Dennis Hevesi (April 27, 2008). "Kate Phillips, Actress Who Christened 'The Blob', Is Dead at 94". Obituaries. New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  2. Hevesi, Dennis (April 28, 2008). "Kate Phillips, 94, actress who co-wrote 'The Blog'". Philadelphia Daily News. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. New York Times News Service. p. 10. Retrieved October 29, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Weaver, Tom (2003). Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. p. 215. ISBN 9780786430284. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  4. "'Find' Discovered in Famous Theater". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. July 3, 1935. p. 23. Retrieved October 29, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Kay Linaker". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  6. "Player Changes Name". Motion Picture Herald. August 3, 1935. p. 67. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  7. "A 'Little' from Hollywood 'Lots'". The Film Daily. August 8, 1935. p. 10. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  8. "Broadway Actress In Film". The Morning News. Delaware, Wilmington. August 2, 1935. p. 20. Retrieved October 29, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  9. Michael G. Fitzgerald (May 22, 2014). "Kate Phillips (1913–2008)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  10. "Phillips". Philadelphia Daily News. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. April 28, 2008. p. 24. Retrieved October 29, 2018 via Newspapers.com.

Further reading

  • Weaver, Tom (2003). "Kay Linaker". Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. pp. 215–233. ISBN 978-0-7864-3028-4.
  • Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004). "Kay Linaker". Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television Westerns from the 1930s to the 1960s. McFarland. pp. 140–143. ISBN 978-0-7864-2028-5.
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