Brandis Kemp, aka Sally Blankfield, died at her home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles on July 4 after a struggle with brain cancer and complications from COVID-19, a friend confirmed. She was 76 and spent five decades as a working actress and comedienne.
She is best known for her TV work in ABC’s late night variety show Fridays, where she appeared along with Larry David, Michael Richards, Rich Hall, Bruce Mahler, Melanie Chartoff and Kemp’s then-husband Mark Blankfield. She next starred as Alma Cox in AfterMASH with Harry Morgan, Jamie Farr, William Christopher and Rosalind Chao. As a member of the comedy group, Low Moan Spectacular, Brandis performed in El Grande de Coca Cola and Bullshot Crummond for HBO.
Brandis’s passion was Native American culture, gardening, and DIY. In November 2019, at age 75, after learning that her home needed to be re-stuccoed, Brandis taught herself to stucco, got on a ladder and did it herself. One month later she was diagnosed with a glioblastoma.
Brandis was born Vivian Sally Kemp to Vida Kernohan and John Lloyd Kemp on February 1, 1944 in Palo Alto, California. After receiving her MFA in drama and literature from Stanford and studying at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, she met her future husband, actor Mark Blankfield, performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Her parents, her sister, Bronwen Ronsse, and her brother, John Kemp, predeceased her. Brandis was divorced from Blankfield.
Survivors include 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.