Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

THE “UBER DIVA”

After Mrs. Hart’s ninety-fifth birthday, I shared these
remarks with the Whitney Media audience via WVOX and
WVIP on March 2, 2006.

The columnist Liz Smith, no slouch in the glamour girl department, says Kitty Carlisle Hart has the best pair of legs in New York.

And last night, the ninety-five-year-old woman stood in the spotlight with a spectacular figure and those exquisite hands, just some of the equipment she uses to define and weave magic into the classic, timeless songs she learned from George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern. What she said charmed audiences, as she has done throughout her career and life:

I’ve just celebrated my birthday, darlings. I’m ninety-five. George
Abbott lived to be 107—which doesn’t really seem very old at all,
now does it?

The Great Depression and I arrived in New York at about the
same time….

Frankly, darlings, I got somewhat greater notices on my legs
than on my voice or my acting.

I auditioned for Moss Hart. I didn’t get the job. But, some years
later, I got the man….

In addition to her glamorous persona and charisma, Mrs. Hart was also accompanied last night by a lovely voice and flawless phrasing—which enabled her to pack more class and style into her presentation than any of today’s “leading ladies” and wannabe divas could ever muster.

She used to call Nelson Rockefeller and Mario Cuomo “Governor, darling” when she ran the New York State Council for the Arts. Neither governor ever had to think twice about reappointing “Commissioner” Hart to her high post as chief patronage dispenser in the world of art back in the ’70s and ’80s.

She is the ultimate anti-bimbo dame.

-359-

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