Kathleen Howard

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.[1]

Kathleen Howard
Kathleen Howard.jpg
Born(1884-07-27)July 27, 1884
Clifton Hill, Ontario, Canada
DiedApril 15, 1956(1956-04-15) (aged 71)
OccupationOpera singer, actress, magazine editor
Years active1934-1951


Howard was born in Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 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] She remained a leading Met artist through 1928, taking major and secondary roles.[3]

Howard created the role of Zita in Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. Until World War I, Howard was part of the repertory system in the opera houses of Metz and Darmstadt.

Beginning in 1918, for four years, Howard was the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar magazine and while in that post was also president of Fashion Group International. She resigned to begin acting in films.

Her 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), and appeared in two other Fields films: 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.[1] She was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.


Howard did not make as many opera recordings during the acoustical era as did her contemporaries Geraldine Farrar and Mary Garden, and thus was not as well known. Her few recordings were vertical-cut discs for Edison Records, playable only on Edison Disc Phonographs; and 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).


Year Title Role Notes
1934 Death Takes a Holiday Princess Maria
You're Telling Me! Mrs. Edward Quimby Murchison
One More River Lady Charwell
Once to Every Bachelor Aunt Henrietta
Lady by Choice Mrs. Mills
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
The Hit Parade Mrs. Barrett Uncredited
1938 When G-Men Step In Mrs. Drake Uncredited
Letter of Introduction Aunt Jonnie in Play Uncredited
Crime Takes a Holiday Mrs. Allen, Governor's Wife Uncredited
1939 Three Smart Girls Grow Up Mrs. Kittenhaven Uncredited
Rio Mme. Adrienne Lamartine Uncredited
Little Accident Mrs. Allerton
First Love Miss Wiggins
1940 Outside the Three-Mile Limit Socialite Uncredited
Mystery Sea Raider Maggie Clancy
Young People Hester Appleby
Five Little Peppers in Trouble Mrs. Wilcox
One Night in the Tropics Judge McCracken Uncredited
1941 A Girl, a Guy and a Gob Jawme Duncan
Sweetheart of the Campus Mrs. Minnie Lambeth Sparr
Blossoms in the Dust Mrs. Sarah Keats
Miss Polly Mrs. Minerva Snodgrass
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
The Mad Martindales Grandmother Varney
Lady in a Jam Woman Uncredited
The Magnificent Dope Tad's Mother, Mrs. Page Uncredited
You Were Never Lovelier Grandmother Acuña Uncredited
1943 Crash Dive Miss Bromley Uncredited
My Kingdom for a Cook Mrs. Theodore Carter Uncredited
Swing Out the Blues Aunt Amanda
1944 Reckless Age Sarah Wadsworth
Laura Louise, Ann's Cook Uncredited
1945 Eadie Was a Lady Aunt Priscilla
Shady Lady Butch
Snafu Dean Garrett
1946 Miss Susie Slagle's Miss Wingate Uncredited
Mysterious Intruder Rose Denning
Centennial Summer Deborah
Danger Woman Eddie
1947 Cross My Heart Mrs. Klute Uncredited
The Late George Apley Margaret, the Maid Uncredited
Cynthia McQuillan
The Hal Roach Comedy Carnival Aunt Martha, in 'Curly'
1948 The Bride Goes Wild Aunt Susan
Cry of the City Miss Pruett's Mother Uncredited
1950 The Petty Girl Prof. Langton Uncredited
Born to Be Bad Mrs. Bolton
Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Bigelow Theatre 1 episode


  1. ^ a b "Miss Howard, 77, Singer, Actress. Former Contralto At 'Met' Dies. Film Player Was Fashion Editor Here". New York Times. August 17, 1956.
  2. ^ a b c "Fashion Magazine Editor Turns to Motion Pictures". The Evening Independent. February 23, 1934. p. 4-A. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  3. ^ Metropolitan Opera Archives http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/frame.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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