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September 3: Kitty Carlisle

September 2, 2015

Kitty-CarlisleActress, musician, and arts advocate Kitty Carlisle was born in New Orleans (where her grandfather had been mayor of Shreveport) on this date in 1910. Best known to America as a panelist on the game show To Tell the Truth from 1956 to 1978, she also appeared on Broadway and in films, including with the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935) and with Bing Crosby in She Loves Me Not (1934) as well as Here Is My Heart (1934). Carlisle was briefly involved romantically with George Gershwin, and then married Moss Hart, whose family name she kept after his death fifteen years later. Kitty Carlisle Hart served for twenty years on the New York State Council on the Arts and on numerous arts-organization boards as a stalwart advocate of government arts funding and opponent of government-driven censorship. In 1988, she published an autobiography, Kitty, and after turning 90 she performed a one-woman show entitled My Life Upon the Wicked Stage.

“Hart was also an active philanthropist, serving on the boards of the Visiting Nurse Service and the Girl Scouts, and hosting fundraisers for the Manhattan School of Music, refugee children, American Indian causes, and democratic politicians.” —Jewish Women’s Archive