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 character actress from the mid-1930s through the 1940s. She spent her childhood in Buffalo, New York, and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery there.


She created the role of Zita in Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. She was also memorable as Amelia, the nagging, shrewish wife of W.C. Fields in It's a Gift (1934). She appeared in two other films of W.C. Fields: You're Telling Me! (1934) and Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935).

Howard was part of the repertory system in the opera houses of Metz and Darmstadt previous to World War I. She told of her life as an opera singer in an autobiography, Confessions of an Opera Singer (Knopf 1918).[citation needed]


Howard died on April 15, 1956, aged 71, of undisclosed causes, in Hollywood, California.


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).

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
1935 Man on the Flying Trapeze Leona Wolfinger Alternative title: The Memory Expert
1937 Stolen Holiday Madame Delphine
1939 First Love Miss Wiggins
1940 Young People Hester Appleby
1940 Mystery Sea Raider Maggie Clancy
1941 Blossoms in the Dust Mrs. Sarah Keats
Ball of Fire Miss Bragg Alternative title: The Professor and the Burlesque Queen
1942 Take a Letter, Darling Aunt Minnie Alternative title: Green-Eyed Woman
You Were Never Lovelier Grandmother Acuña Uncredited
1943 My Kingdom for a Cook Mrs. Theodore Carter Uncredited
1944 Laura Louise, Ann's Cook Uncredited
1945 Eadie Was a Lady Aunt Priscilla
1946 Centennial Summer Deborah
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]