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Karen Akers (born October 13, 1945) is an American actress and singer, who has appeared on Broadway, and in cabaret and film.

Karen Akers
Karen Orth-Pallavicini

(1945-10-13) October 13, 1945 (age 73)
Alma materManhattanville College
Hunter College
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Jim Akers
(m. 1968–mid-1980s)
Kevin Power
(m. 1993)

Early lifeEdit

She was born Karen Orth-Pallavicini in New York City on October 13, 1945. Her immigrant father, Heinnick Christian Orth-Pallavicini, was of Austrian and Swiss-Italian heritage. He was reportedly a member of the European nobility family Pallavicini who dropped his title when he came to America. Her American-born mother, Mary Louise (née Adams), a chaplain,[1] had Russian, Norwegian, and French forebears on one side of her family and Scotch-Irish ones on the other. Her younger sister, Nicole Orth-Pallavicini, is also an actress. Another younger sister, Marie Orth-Pallavicini, is married to David Baker Cadman, a grandson of John Cadman, 1st Baron Cadman.[2] Akers graduated from Manhattanville College.


Akers first appeared on Broadway in the original production of Nine, a musical directed by Tommy Tune and based on the Federico Fellini film , as Luisa Contini, the wife of promiscuous film director Guido Contini (played by Raúl Juliá). The show opened May 9, 1982, and had a successful run of 732 performances, closing February 4, 1984. Akers won a Theatre World Award for her performance. She was one of three actresses in the show nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, with the award eventually going to fellow cast member Liliane Montevecchi.

In 1985, Akers appeared in such feature films as Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo as a celluloid chanteuse, and in Heartburn (as the mistress of Jack Nicholson's character).

She appeared on Broadway in Grand Hotel, a musical adaptation of the novel and film, scored by Robert Wright, George Forrest, and Maury Yeston. In Grand Hotel Akers was reunited with Nine director Tommy Tune and Nine cast members Liliane Motevecchi and Kathi Moss. The show opened November 12, 1989, for a run of 1,018 performances, through April 19, 1992.

Akers covered "Sooner or Later" in her 1991 album Unchained Melodies, a song written for Madonna by Stephen Sondheim the year before.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

On September 19, 1993, Akers married Kevin Patrick Power, vice president of the satellite communications company Orion Network Systems, in a Roman Catholic ceremony at St. Paul's Chapel of Columbia University in New York.[4]

It was her second marriage. She has two sons from her first marriage to Jim Akers in 1968,[5] which ended in divorce.



Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo Kitty Haynes Also on the soundtrack, uncredited, performing "One Day at a Time".
1986 Heartburn Thelma Rice
1988 Vibes Hillary (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Hart to Hart Raquel Moskowitz TV Series; 1 episode: "Whispers in the Wings"
1985 The Equalizer Cynthia TV Series; 1 episode: "China Rain"
1987 Cheers Sally TV Series; 1 episode: "My Fair Clavin"
1991 Today Herself TV Series; 1 episode: "Episode dated 5 November 1991"
1983–1997 Great Performances Herself TV Series; 2 episodes:
  • "Ellington: The Music Lives On" (1983)
  • "Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall" (1997)

DVD Concert FilmsEdit

  • 2005: Karen Akers: On Stage at Wolf Trap[6]

Partial discographyEdit

  • 1981: Karen Akers - Blackwood Records BLWD 001
  • 1982: Karen Akers - Rizzoli/Blackwood Records 1001
  • 1987: In A Very Unusual Way - Rizzoli Records 1004/71004
  • reissue 1999 In A Very Unusual Way - Cabaret 5002
  • 1994: Just Imagine - DRG 5231
  • 1996: Under Paris Skies - Cabaret Records 5019
  • 1997: Live from Rainbow and Stars - DRG 1450
  • 2001: Feels Like Home - DRG 1465
  • 2004: If We Only Have Love - DRG 1383
  • 2006: Like It Was - DRG CD 91498
  • 2008: Simply Styne - DRG 1506


  1. ^
  2. ^ Retrieved on July 6, 2007
  3. ^ "Karen Akers "Sooner or Later"". CD Universe. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Profile,; retrieved 05-09-2007.
  5. ^ "'On "The Worldly Wise World of Karen Akers",; retrieved 02-03-13.
  6. ^ "Karen Akers: On Stage At Wolf Trap". Retrieved October 20, 2013.

External linksEdit