Ms. Carlisle Hart was the wife of Moss Hart, the legendary Broadway director who staged, among other triumphs, the Lerner-Loewe musicals “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” and the plays “You Can't Take It With You” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” which he co-wrote with the playwright George Kaufman.
But she was a well-known entertainer in her own right, appearing in Broadway musicals and revues, movies, television, even opera. An indispensable link to Broadway's Golden Age, she was a “living landmark,” proclaimed by New York as such. As late as last year, at 95 years old, she was singing in public, warbling Gershwin's “The Man I Love” at a Lincoln Center gala.
“Until the end of her life Miss Carlisle remained a svelte, attractive woman with dark, neatly coiffed hair that she said she colored herself. With a full mouth outlined in bright red lipstick, she burst easily into warm laughter. She was known for her grace and charm, but by her own account she was slightly eccentric, a trait she treasured because she believed it gave her a lot of leeway,” said the New York Times.
Julie Andrews, while singing “Wouldn't It Be Loverly” in one of her concerts, paused midway and shared this anecdote about Ms. Carlisle Hart.
“When I was in rehearsal for ‘My Fair Lady’ I was just awful as Eliza Doolittle. I couldn't get the hang of the role at all. I worked long hours with our wonderful director, Moss Hart. He went home to his wife, Kitty Carlisle, one day, and Kitty said to him, ‘Well, how is she, how is Julie doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I don't know, I don't know. If these were the good old days, I'd rent the honeymoon suite at the Plaza Hotel, I'd take Julie up there for the weekend, we'd make passionate love to each other, and she'd emerge Monday morning a star.’
“And years later, Kitty told me that she said to Moss, ‘Well, darling, we know we love each other. If you really think it'd do some good, go ahead, be my guest.’ (Laughter)
“The honeymoon suite at the Plaza Hotel is absolutely beautiful... (Pause) I'm told!”
Siempre pa I have a DVD copy of this concert! Here's a clip of that marvelous moment--a tribute, if you ask me, not only to those theater immortals, Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle Hart, but also to Julie Andrews' talent as a consummate storyteller in both song and spoken word. Watch!