Kitty Winn

Katherine Tupper "Kitty" Winn (born February 21, 1944) is an American theatre and film actress. She is best known for her roles as the heroin addict Helen in the romantic drama The Panic in Needle Park, for which she won the Best Actress award at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, and her recurring role of Sharon Spencer in the horror film franchise The Exorcist.

Kitty Winn
Born (1944-02-21) February 21, 1944 (age 76)
Years active1961–1978, 1982–1983, 2011

Early life and careerEdit

Kitty Winn was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Army officer James J. Winn and Molly Brown Winn. Winn traveled widely during much of her childhood, including time spent in the United States, England, Germany, China, India and Japan. Her mother is the stepdaughter of U.S. General of the Army, former US Secretary of State and former US Secretary of Defense George Marshall.

Her career has spanned a wide range of dramatic productions on stage, in motion pictures and on television. She studied acting at Centenary Junior College and Boston University, graduating from the latter in 1966. During her college years Winn acted in student productions at Centenary Junior College, Boston University, and Harvard College and summer stock for two summers at The Priscilla Beach Theatre, south of Boston. Shortly after college she joined the company at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she remained for four years under the artistic direction of William Ball.

In the fall of 1970 Winn left American Conservatory Theater to star opposite Al Pacino in the film The Panic in Needle Park, for which she won the Best Actress award at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. Although she went on to do several more films, such as They Might Be Giants (1971) and The Exorcist (1973), she spent most of her career in theater.

She retired from acting in 1978 but returned to play Cordelia in The Tragedy of King Lear for KCET in 1983. She did not return to the stage again until 2011, when she played the lead in The Last Romance at the San Jose Repertory Theatre. For this performance, she was nominated for a best actress award by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.

Body of workEdit


Year Production Location Play Role
1961 Centenary Junior College Antigone Antigone
1963 Priscilla Beach Theatre Curious Savage Florence
1963 Priscilla Beach Theatre Song of Bernadette Bernadette
1964 Priscilla Beach Theatre Night of the Iguana Miss Jenks
1964 Priscilla Beach Theatre Gigi Gigi
1964 Priscilla Beach Theatre Shot in the Dark Josefa Lantenay
1964 Boston University Measure for Measure Mistress Overdon's girl
1964 Boston University Toys in the Attic Lily
1965 Boston University The Rose Tattoo Rosa
1965 Harvard College The Beggars' Opera Polly Peachum
1966 Boston University The Playboy of the Western World Pegeen Mike
1967 American Conservatory Theater The Crucible Mary Warren
1967 American Conservatory Theater Thieves' Carnival Juliette
1967 American Conservatory Theatre Charley's Aunt Kitty
1968 American Conservatory Theater Long Day's Journey into Night Cathleen
1968 American Conservatory Theater Le Misanthrope Celemene
1968 American Conservatory Theater Under Milkwood Lily Smalls
1969 American Conservatory Theater Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead Ophelia
1969 American Conservatory Theater Charley's Aunt Kitty
1969 ANTE Theatre and American Conservatory Theater The Three Sisters Irina
1969 The Mineola Playhouse Our Town Emily (also with Henry Fonda) Michael York (actor)
1970 American Conservatory Theater Glory Hallelujah Nantelle Bowden
1970 American Conservatory Theater The Rose Tattoo Rosa
1970 American Conservatory Theater The Tempest Miranda
1972 Long Wharf Theatre, New York Shakespeare in the Park, and Mark Taper Forum Hamlet Ophelia (also with Stacy Keach, James Earl Jones and Colleen Dewhurst)
1975 Phoenix Theatre Knuckle (off-Broadway premier) Jenny Wilbur (opposite Perry King)
1975 Ahmanson Theatre Ring Around the Moon Isabelle (opposite Michael York)
1977 Long Wharf Theatre St. Joan Joan
1978 Coconut Grove Playhouse Othello Desdemona
1982 Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis Romeo and Juliet Juliet
2011 San Jose Repertory Theatre The Last Romance Carol

Motion picturesEdit

Year Name of Film Role
1971 The Panic in Needle Park Helen
1971 They Might be Giants Grace
1973 The Exorcist Sharon Spencer
1976 Peeper Mianne Prendergast
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic Sharon Spencer
1978 Mirrors Marianne Whitman

Movies for televisionEdit

Year Name of Film Role
1970 The House That Would Not Die Sara Dunning
1972 The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet
1973 Message to My Daughter Miranda Thatcher
1974 The Carpenters Sissy
1975 Miles to Go Before I Sleep Maggie Stanton
1977 The Last Hurrah Maeve Skeffington
1983 The Tragedy of King Lear Cordelia

Series for televisionEdit

Year Name of Series Role
1973 The Streets of San Francisco Barbara Talmadge
1975 Beacon Hill Rosamond Lassiter
1977 Kojak - "Kojak Days: Part 1" Carla Magid
1977 Kojak - "Kojak Days: Part 2" Carla Magid


Cannes Film FestivalEdit

Year Performance Award
1971 Helen in The Panic in Needle Park Best Actress Award


External linksEdit