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Hart, Kitty Carlisle


HART, KITTY CARLISLE (1910– ), U.S. entertainer, arts administrator. Born in New Orleans, La., as Catherine Conn, she was brought up in Paris and in Switzerland. She was educated at the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. A singer and actress, she appeared in the *Marx Brothers' farcical film A Night at the Opera in 1935 after appearing in three films the previous year: Here Is My Heart, She Loves Me Not, and Murder at the Vanities. Known for her gracious manners and personal elegance, she dated George *Gershwin and married the playwright Moss *Hart in 1946. As Kitty Carlisle, she became a household name in the United States through appearances on the panel of the television program To Tell the Truth, in which three contestants aver to having the same secret. She also was a guest panelist for many years on the popular series What's My Line?, in which panelists try to guess the contestant's occupation. Both programs gave her an opportunity to showcase her wit and intelligence.

Taking on the real-life role of arts administrator, she headed the New York State Council on the Arts, a statewide agency, for many years and raised countless thousands to support cultural institutions large and small. She proved a tireless champion of the arts, and traveled throughout the state to see performances by professional and amateur organizations. She resumed her acting and singing career in the mid-1980s and appeared both in acting roles and as herself in film and television series. She retained her singing voice well into her nineties and her one-woman shows, played in various parts of the United States, included memories of her career, anecdotes of her experiences with the Marx Brothers and Gershwin, and theatrical stories about her late husband.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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