Kitty Carlisle Hart was born Catherine Conn on September 3, 1910 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her grandfather, Ben Holtzman, was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War and later became mayor of Shreveport. Kitty’s father died when she was ten-years-old.
Her mother took her to Europe hoping to marry her off to European royalty. She was schooled in Switzerland, London, Rome and Paris.
Upon her return to the United States in 1932, she performed on Broadway, sang operas and appeared in movies including “A Night At The Opera” (1935) with the Marx Brothers.
Carlisle married her husband, playwright and theatrical producer Moss Hart, in 1946, the two having met at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania. They had two children together before Mr. Hart died in late 1961.
Her notoriety became most prominent as a panelist on the game show “To Tell The Truth” from 1956 to 1978. She also appeared in revivals of the syndicated show through 2002.
In its infancy, the weekly program was sponsored by Geritol, the high-potency tonic that was said to help people feel stronger fast. Sounds like an early form of the Red Bull energy drink but it was dispensed more like medicine by the teaspoon.
She also occasionally appeared on other game shows such as Password, What’s My Line and Match Game.
Ms. Hart was a New York socialite and philanthropist who became an advocate for the arts and served on many boards and cultural councils. Her dark hair, off-the-shoulder outfits and elegant necklaces gave her an air of regal bearing well-suited for high society.
Graceful and glamorous to the very end, Kitty Carlisle Hart passed away on April 17, 2007 at the age of 96.