Renaissance Woman Kathleen Howard: Actress, Opera Singer, Journalist

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2020 at 4:09 am



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happy birthday to the astonishing Kathleen Howard (1884-1956) one of my top favorite character actresses, especially for her classic harridan turn as Mrs. Bissonette (“pronounced “Bissonay”) W.C. Fields’ overbearing wife in IT’S A GIFT (she’s my spirit animal in this-just ask Edward). She made a memorable screendebutin Mitchell Leisen’s beautiful, eerie Death Takes a Holiday and in Ball of Fire, butch Barbara Stanwyck freaked out when she broke her jaw after she had to hit her in a scene. But before that, this native of Niagara Falls born July 17, 1884, she had been an acclaimed opera singer, her powerful contralto voice was heard at Covent Garden and the Met, creating the role of Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. She wrote a book about her experiences, ‘Confessions of an Opera Singer, and then enjoyed a third career, as editor of Harper’s Bazaar and journalist during the heyday of movie magazines, with a specialization in fashion. I’d once proposed a story about her to Opera News, but my editor the late Brian Kellow nixed the idea, probably because it had nothing to do with his major interests Broadway/cabaret, and therefore had no place in Opera News.


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the wonder of the Internet makes it possible to read her entire book for free



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