Kathleen Howard

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Kathleen Howard
Kathleen Howard.jpg
Born (1884-07-27)July 27, 1884
Clifton, Ontario, Canada
Died April 15, 1956(1956-04-15) (aged 71)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Opera singer, actress, magazine editor
Years active 1934-1951

Kathleen Howard (July 27, 1884 - April 15, 1956) was a Canadian-born American opera singer magazine editor and a character actress from the mid-1930s through the 1940s.[1]


Howard was born in Buffalo, New York on July 27, 1884.[2]

In 1906, Howard began her career in opera in Germany. Following eight years of singing in Berlin, she performed concerts in Belgium, England, Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia. She arrived in America in 1913 and joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1916.[2]

Howard created the role of Zita in Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. Howard was part of the repertory system in the opera houses of Metz and Darmstadt previous to World War I. Beginning in 1918, for four years Howard was the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar magazine. She resigned from that position to begin acting in films. While in that post, she was also president of Fashion Group International.[2]

Howard's film debut came in Death Takes a Holiday (1934).[2] She played Amelia, the nagging, shrewish wife of W.C. Fields in It's a Gift (1934). She also appeared in two other films of W.C. Fields: You're Telling Me! (1934) and Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935).

Howard died on April 15, 1956, aged 71, in Hollywood, California after a long illness. She had been an invalid for seven years.[1] She was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.


Howard appears to have not made as many opera recordings for companies of the acoustical era such as did her contemporaries Geraldine Farrar and Mary Garden; her few recordings were vertical-cut discs made for the American branch of Pathé Frères in 1918 which received limited distribution. Among them are Harry Burleigh's arrangement of the spiritual "Deep River," arias from Charles Gounod's Faust and Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore (in English), and the "Barcarolle" from Jacques Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann with Claudia Muzio (in French).[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1934 Death Takes a Holiday Princess Maria
You're Telling Me! Mrs. Edward Quimby Murchison
It's a Gift Mrs. Amelia Bissonette Starring W.C. Fields
One More River Lady Charwell
Once to Every Bachelor Aunt Henrietta
1935 Man on the Flying Trapeze Leona Wolfinger Alternative title: The Memory Expert
1937 Stolen Holiday Madame Delphine
1939 First Love Miss Wiggins
Little Accident Mrs. Allerton
1940 Young People Hester Appleby
Mystery Sea Raider Maggie Clancy
Five Little Peppers in Trouble Mrs. Wilcox
1941 Blossoms in the Dust Mrs. Sarah Keats
Ball of Fire Miss Bragg Alternative title: The Professor and the Burlesque Queen
Miss Polly Mrs. Minerva Snodgrass
Sweetheart of the Campus Mrs. Minnie Lambeth Sparr
A Girl, a Guy and a Gob Jawme Duncan
1942 Take a Letter, Darling Aunt Minnie Alternative title: Green-Eyed Woman
You Were Never Lovelier Grandmother Acuña Uncredited
The Mad Martindales Grandmother Varney
1943 My Kingdom for a Cook Mrs. Theodore Carter Uncredited
Swing Out the Blues Aunt Amanda
1944 Laura Louise, Ann's Cook Uncredited
Reckless Age Sarah Wadsworth
1945 Eadie Was a Lady Aunt Priscilla
Snafu Dean Garrett
Shady Lady Butch
1946 Centennial Summer Deborah
Danger Woman Eddie
Mysterious Intruder Rose Denning
1947 The Late George Apley Margaret, the Maid Uncredited
Cynthia McQuillan
1948 The Bride Goes Wild Aunt Susan
1950 Born to Be Bad Mrs. Bolton
Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Bigelow Theatre 1 episode


External links[edit]