19 April 2007

RIP: Kitty Carlisle Hart

Wow. This one comes under the heading of "I didn't even know she was still alive!"

ZUI this article from ABC News:
Kitty Carlisle Hart, whose long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film, including the classic Marx Brothers movie "A Night at the Opera," died after a battle with pneumonia, her son said Wednesday. She was 96.

"She passed away peacefully" Tuesday night [17 April] in her Manhattan apartment, said Christopher Hart, a director-writer-producer who was at her side. "She had such a wonderful life and a great long run. It was a blessing."

Hart was touring the country in her autobiographical one-woman show, "Here's to Life," until the pneumonia struck around Christmas, her son said. Broadway's theaters planned to dim their marquee lights Wednesday in honor of the longtime patron of the arts.

The Dallas Morning News has this to say:
Ms. Hart had appeared for years on the popular game show To Tell the Truth as a celebrity panelist. The entertainer was also a tireless advocate for the arts, serving 20 years on the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Arts from President George Bush.

Well known for her starring role as Rosa Castaldi in the 1935 movie A Night at the Opera, her other film credits include She Loves Me Not and Here Is My Heart, both opposite Bing Crosby; Woody Allen's Radio Days; and Six Degrees of Separation.

She began her acting career on Broadway in Champagne Sec, and went on to appear in many other Broadway productions, including the 1984 revival of On Your Toes.

You can read more about her at NNDB and IMDb.

I've never seen A Night at the Opera, but I used to love To Tell the Truth when I was a kid. The contestants as I remember them were Kitty Carlisle, Tom Poston, Peggy Cass and Orson Bean, with of course Bud Collyer as the host.* "...and I'm Bud Collyer, and welcome to To Tell the Truth. Panel, these three men all claim to be...."

* The photo above shows (left to right) Cullen, Cass, Joe Garagiola and Carlisle in the '70s version of To Tell the Truth.

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