Imogene Coca was born as Emogeane Coca in Philadelphia. Her parents were both prominent in the field of arts; her father, Fernandez Coca, being of Spanish descent, was both an orchestra conductor and violinist while her mother Sadie Brady was a dancer and a magician. Since her childhood Imogene had a passion for the arts, which she in all probabilities inherited from her parents. She was a child acrobat before becoming a famous personality on television. She was seen in the chorus of the famous Broadway musical during her initial days.
Imogene was trained in piano and in dance during childhood. With the passion of becoming a dancer ignited in her, Imogene shifted to
while she was a teenager. Imogene debuted in the movie "Bashful Ballerina" and from then onwards worked in several other movies, television shows, tours, theatre-acts and Broadway shows.
Max Liebman, a producer, was instrumental in bringing Imogene in a show named "The Admiral Broadway Revue". The show, in which she paired with Sid Caeser, was not aired for a long period. However, the two joined again in "Your Show of Shows" that catapulted Imogene to fame. This was a one and half hour show, and it was shown live. It had comedy sketches, singing and dancing, and celebrity guests. The “little gimmicks “ of Imogene made this show, which ran from 1950-1954, an instant hit with the audience. This show won her the Primetime Emmy Award during 1951 in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress playing in a Comedy Series. She was also considered for four more Emmys. Her amazing partnership with Sid Caesar is something to reckon with. She was popular for her shows where she mixed music with comedy.
After splitting from Sid in 1954, Imogene featured in her own show named "The Imogene Coca Show" telecast on NBC. However, she could not recreate the magic of "Your Show of Shows". In 1953, Imogene won the Peabody Award for outstanding performance in Broadcasting. She continued to appear in many shows, made guest appearances, appeared in literary adaptations for children and then at the age of 70 returned to Broadway. She was married twice, to Robert Burton for 21 years until his death. And she was married to King Donovan for 27 years, until his death. She had no children from either of the marriages. In a serious car accident, Coca lost her eye, which was covered by plastic surgery.
On June 2nd, 2001, Coca passed away at her Westport, Connecticut home. Her death was due to natural reasons linked to her Alzheimer’s disease. She was 92 years old. It would be no exaggeration to say that the mischievous and thoughtful face of Imogene was very much liked by millions of audiences during her heydays.