Friday, January 14, 2011

Mae West: Louise Kirtland

It was in a MAE WEST play that young Louise Kirtland took her first Broadway bow. Though her bio-notes often incorrectly state that she made her debut in "The Church Mouse," in fact it was in 1927 that she was cast in "The Wicked Age" at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre.
• • Born in Lynn, Massachusetts on 4 August 1919, Louise Kirtland was eight years old when she appeared as Gladys Blake. Soon after, the ambitious newcomer was cast in "Night Hostess" [1928], "Getting Even" [1929], "Light Wines and Beer" [1930] — — along with many other productions until 1983 when she was featured in a revival of "Mame," her last time onstage
• • Louise Kirtland's acting career spanned six decades. After working with Mae West, she also appeared with Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Eva Gabor, Angela Lansbury, and Milton Berle.
• • Married in her twenties to Albert Lewis Alexander, the star and producer of radio's ''Court of Human Relations,'' Miss Kirtland was widowed in 1969 and never remarried.
• • After numerous roles on the stage and on TV, she enjoyed happy retirement years in her New York City apartment. A heart attack ended her life in mid-January — — on 14 January 1999. She was 93. The actress was buried in New England in Pine Grove Cemetery in her hometown of Lynn.
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