Katherine Kath Mini-Biography
Katherine Kath nee Lily Faess (Rose Marie Nelly Faess) was born in Berck Plage, Picardy and was the fifth child of
parents Adrien Faess and Alix Caserbo. Lily worked very hard as a child and was very ambitious and with the support from her
family became the top ballet dancer in her class and achieved stage recognition very quickly.
Lily went on
to train seven hours a day for ten years to become a Prima Ballerina at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, but due to an ankle
injury and with medical advice was forced to give up the ballet to avoid permanent damage.
moved onto acting in the theatre and created a short sketch role of ‘Irma La Douce’
at the Caberet ‘’Chez Gilles’’ in Paris a production by Grenier and Husneau, (later was brought to
the screen starring Shirley MacLaine).
Katherine Kath had great success in the late 1940/50’s with a string of
plays written by the highly acclaimed French writer Jean Anouilh (1910-1987), titles
included ‘Antigone’, ‘Invitasion
au Chateau’ (Ring Round The Moon), ‘Le Diner De Famille’,. These
theatre productions were a roaring success in Paris at the time, at the Theatre Marigny and established Katherine Kath as
an actress and played to sold-out houses every night.Other plays were ‘La Soif’
(1949) by Henry Bernstein (1876-1953) starring Jean Gabin (1904-1976), Claude Dauphin (1904-1976) -Katherine took over the
role that was created by Madeleine Robinson (1916-2004), ‘La Petite Lily’
(1951) starring Edith Piaf (1915-1963).
Amongst the French films that Katherine appeared
in around this time, were ‘Captain Blomet’ 1947
starring Fernand Gravey, Gaby Sylvis. ‘Le Cavalier de Croix-Mort’ 1948
starring Henri Nassiet, Madeleine Robinson. ‘L’armoire Volante’ 1948
starring Fernandel, ‘Toute la Famille était Là’ 1948
starring Jean Parédès, Jean Tissier, André Alerme. ‘Ainsi
Finit la nuit’ 1949 . ‘Le Rideau Rouge’ 1952 starring
In 1952 Katherine Kath was to land the unforgettable role as La Goulue in John Huston’s ‘Moulin
Rouge’, starring alongside José Ferrer (1912-1922), Zsa Zsa Gabor(1917-),
Suzanne Flon (1918-2005), Colette Marchand (1925-) and Muriel Smith (1923-1985). John Huston’s Associate Producer on
Moulin Rouge was Jack Clayton (1921-1995) whom Katherine would later marry.
Rouge’ Katherine returned to Paris to star in ‘Le Dortoir Des Grandes’
1953 starring Jean Marais (1913-1998) , ‘Oh No, Mam’zelle’
1954 starring Fernandel (1903-1998), Pier Angeli (1932-1971). ‘La Madone
des Sleepings’ 1955 starring Giselle Pascal (1921-2007), Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957).
Other films include ‘A
Touch of the Sun’ 1956 starring Frankie Howerd, Dennis Price. ‘Anastasia’
‘1956 starring Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, Helen Hayes. ‘These Dangerous Years’
1957 starring George Baker, Frankie Vaughan, Carole Lesley. ‘The Man Who Wouldn’t
Talk’ 1958 starring Anna Neagle, Anthony Quayle, Zsa Zsa Gabor. ‘Subway
in the Sky’ 1959 starring Van Johnson, Hildegard Neff. ‘Fury
at Smugglers Bay’ 1961 starring Peter Cushing, John Fraser. ‘Gigot’
1962 starring Jackie Gleason, directed by Gene Kelly. ‘Aliki My Love’ 1962
starring Aliki Vougiouklaki, Wilfred Hyde-White, Jess Conrad. ‘The
Magnificent Showman’ (Circus World) 1964
starring John Wayne, Rita Hayworth, Claudia Cardinale. ‘Mary Queen of Scots’
1971 starring Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson.
Katherine Kath has also appeared in many television series
throughout her career, (these can be viewed on the 'Films & T.V. of Katherine Kath' page). One
of her most memorable T.V. appearances was playing the party host Madame Engadine in the cult 1967 T.V. series 'The
Prisoner' (A,B and C) starring Patrick McGoohan and Colin Gordon.
In 1983 Katherine Kath appeared
in a stage production called ‘Little Lies’ written by Joseph George
Caruso at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London starring John Mills. This play ran from July 1983 until February 1984 and then
the play moved to Canada for a period of time.
Katherine Kath retired in 1987, a great dancer and actress, her body of work speaks
for itself .-A true great, a true talent.
Sadly, Katherine Kath passed away on 17th November 2012.
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