Kingsley, born in 1946 in Middlesboro to parents Treecy and Ballard Cardwel is the late sister of resident, Bill Cardwell, who maintains the family furniture business, Cardwell Furniture. A talented actress, Kingsley was tragically killed just as she was beginning to make a name for herself in the movie industry.
She and seven seven others were honored at The Kentucky Theatre as the Downtown Lexington Corp.'s 2006 Kentucky Stars during the fifth-annual recognition ceremony and reception.
“The presentation was great there at the Kentucky Theatre. Her name will be on a plaque on the sidewalk there, sort of like the way they honor actors in Hollywood,” he said.
Kingsley accomplished a lot in her short 37 years. A graduate of Middlesboro High School, she went on to major in theatre at the University of Kentucky. She studied at the London Academy of music and Dramatic Arts which led to her inclusion in the original “Shakespeare and Company”, one of the most widely recognized Shakespearean Theatres in America still today.
The Middlesboro native went on from there to star in many plays (from Kentucky to New York and even on Broadway), act on television and in film. She's most widely known for her performance in Coal Miner's Daughter, and she acted alongside Robin Williams in the movie Popeye, and with Jane Fonda in The Dollmaker.
Kingsley balanced a budding acting career with her life as a wife and mother of two. She and her husband maintained a farm that they owned in Frankfort, Ky. Kingsley was said to have “always cherished her mountain roots.”
“Mom was really proud to be from Kentucky,” her daughter, Roxie Hurt, said of Susan when she accepted the Kentucky Star award on behalf of her mother.
Kingsley's performances on an ephemeral stage had a profound effect on her audiences. When Kingsley's fellow actress, Jane Fonda, accepted an Emmy for her performance in The Dollmaker, she dedicated the award to Kingsley, “the quintessential actress”.
Susan Cardwell Kingsley lived the life of a true star, a Kentucky Star. Middlesboro proudly claims her as one of our own.
Brandy L. Murray is a Staff Writer for the Daily News. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.