Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kitty Carlisle Hart, a New York Blend of Actress, Singer and Arts Advocate, Dies at 96 - New York Times: "Kitty Carlisle Hart, a doyenne of New York culture and society and a perennial entertainer who appeared on Broadway and in films and was still singing on the stage as recently as last fall, well into her 10th decade, died Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 96."

I saw this notice yesterday, and had a flashback so vivid of weekday afternoons in the summer, the doors and windows open to the humid Ohio air, game shows in TV, and Kitty Carlisle there too. Back then, I just accepted that she was "somebody famous," and had no idea what she did. This NYT article tells her story so well, and her life is amazing. I simply must remember this:

"Until the end of her life Miss Carlisle remained a svelte, attractive woman with dark, neatly coiffed hair that she said she colored herself. With a full mouth outlined in bright red lipstick, she burst easily into warm laughter. She was known for her grace and charm, but by her own account she was slightly eccentric, a trait she treasured because she believed it gave her a lot of leeway.

"She practiced singing every day, exercised every morning (and was the first to tell anyone that she had beautiful legs, which she did) and believed that discipline was the key to life."

and this:
“I’m more optimistic, more enthusiastic, and I have more energy than ever before,” she said just after her 79th birthday. Energy, she said, came from doing the things she wanted to do. “You get so tired when you do what other people want you to do,” she said.


She was indeed an optimist. As a girl, she once said, she would try to lift her mother out of her frequent dark and angry moods. “Oh, Mummy,” she imitated herself saying, “it won’t rain and there will be a picnic and everybody will have a wonderful time.” She wrote in her autobiography that she started each morning by smiling at herself in the mirror.

I bet she knew Truman Capote!

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