Contact: Michael Traupman, Director of College Relations, 610-740-3790
Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media


Kitty Carlisle Hart to Receive Cedar Crest Honorary Degree

Public Presentation, Honorary Degree Ceremony on October 7, Will Honor Mrs. Hart for Lifetime Achievement for Public Service, Arts Advocacy and the Promotion of Women

Allentown, PA (September 12, 2003) - Kitty Carlisle Hart, star of stage, film, and television and a long-time advocate for the arts and women's rights, will receive an honorary doctor of public service degree from Cedar Crest College in a special convocation ceremony at 7 p.m., Tuesday, October 7, 2003 in the Samuels Family Theatre in the College's Tompkins College Center. The ceremony, which will include a brief celebration of the lives of Kitty and Moss Hart featuring members of the Cedar Crest Stage Company, is free and open to the public. Tickets are required. For tickets and information, contact the Special Events Hotline at 610-740-3791.

With a career that has kept her in the public eye for more than 70 years, Kitty Carlisle Hart has combined the magic of her performances with a lifetime of advocacy for the arts and support of the achievements of women. Mrs. Hart also has the distinction of having been married to the acclaimed, Pulitzer-Prize winning American playwright and stage director Moss Hart, who penned such classic plays as "You Can't Take it With You" and "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

An actress and singer with a long record of achievement in the arts and public service, Mrs. Hart was born in New Orleans and was educated abroad. She attended school in Switzerland and went to the Sorbonne and the London School of Economics. She studied acting in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Long before she had met and married Moss Hart in 1946, Kitty Carlisle had established herself as a rising star on Broadway, in Hollywood and in the operatic world. From her first appearance on Broadway in "Champagne Sec" in 1933 to her most recent role on the great white way in a 1984 revival of "On Your Toes," Hart has captured the attention of audiences and critics alike. In opera she created the role of Lucretia in the American premiere of Benjamin Britten's "Rape of Lucretia." Mrs. Hart made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1967 as Prince Orlofsky in "Die Fledermaus." Mrs. Hart's film appearances include a starring role in the classic "A Night at the Opera" with the Marx Brothers and two films with Bing Crosby, "She Loves Me Not" and "Here is My Heart." Later film appearances include "Radio Days" and "Six Degrees of Separation." In recent years Mrs. Hart has lectured extensively throughout the United States, and was a regular panelist on the long-running television show, "To Tell the Truth." Mrs. Hart also penned her own story, "Kitty: An Autobiography."

An active supporter of arts and culture, she served as the chief arts administrator for the State of New York - as chair of the New York State Council on the Arts - for more than two decades, beginning with her appointment by then governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1971. In 1996 governor George Pataki named Mrs. Hart chairman Emeritus and dedicated the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre in Albany in honor of her commitment to the arts in New York State. During her tenure as head of the arts council, she worked tirelessly to protect government allocation to the arts and in 1982, in fact, managed to persuade the New York legislature to actually increase the arts appropriation in a difficult budget year. She became a champion for smaller arts organizations and up-and-coming artists - often urging those on the arts council not only to fund large, established institutions, but also to be responsive to smaller, local arts organizations and encourage the development of experimental art.

While participating in a wide range of public service activities, Mrs. Hart has taken a particular interest in the role of women in society. In 1966, she was breaking personal ground - chairing the Statewide Conference of Women. A few short weeks later, she was appointed special consultant to governor Nelson Rockefeller on Women's Opportunities - a non-salaried, non-political post, which allowed her to work towards funneling talent and energy of the women of New York State into jobs and public service. She moderated a television series called "Women on the Move," a daytime television program which among other things focused on women who merged motherhood and careers. She also performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a series entitled "Art of New York."

Still performing throughout the country - her most recent show, "My Life on the Wicked Stage" has been critically praised - she has become an icon for her great elegance, poise and graciousness.

Mrs. Hart has been greatly honored for her public service. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 1991. She has received appointments to the Visiting Committee of the Board of Overseers of Harvard's Music School and MIT. In 1990 she was appointed to the independent commission to review the National Endowment for the Arts. Mrs. Hart has also served as a member of the board of the Empire State College and as an associate Fellow of The Timothy Dwight College, Yale University. She is now an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art and has received an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.

For more information on the Carlisle Hart Convocation, contact College Relations at 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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