Edit
Pat Carroll Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 5 May 1927Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Birth NamePatricia Ann Angela Bridget Carroll

Mini Bio (1)

She has played everything from chatterbox wives to wicked stepsisters on TV, and from Gertrude Stein to Shakespeare's Falstaff on stage. At age 80 plus, the plucky comedienne shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The riotous Pat Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1927, the daughter of Kathryn Angela Meagher and Maurice Clifton Carroll. Her family moved to Los Angeles when Pat was five, and there began performing in local stage productions. She graduated from Hollywood's Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls Catholic school, then attended Immaculate College, also in Los Angeles, and Catholic University of America.

Following her college graduation, she began performing comedy in nightclubs and gained early experience with appearances in resort areas. Her stage debut in 1947 with a role in "The Goose and the Gander" starring Gloria Swanson led to hundreds of stock roles. She made her off-Broadway debut in the play "Come What May" in 1950. Also a talented singer, she earned a Tony nomination for her Broadway work in the singing revue "Catch a Star" in 1955, and then enjoyed a number of brash showcases in such musicals as "On the Town," "Once Upon a Mattress" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown".

It was, however, the "golden age" of TV that truly took advantage of Pat's adroit talents. An initial "second banana" regular on the variety programs The Red Buttons Show (1952) and The Saturday Night Revue (1953), she copped an Emmy award for her work on Caesar's Hour (1954) as Howard Morris' wife and earned fine reviews from her recurring role on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy (1953) playing Bunny Halper, the pert and plucky wife of Danny Thomas' nightclub manager Charlie Halper (Sid Melton).

Pat's down-to-earth demeanor, chummy disposition and hearty, infectious laugh made her a popular guest on all the major talkfests and a welcomed panelist on such game shows as "You Don't Say," "To Tell the Truth," "I've Got a Secret" and "Password". In 1965, she co-starred on TV as one of the wicked stepsisters in the endearing Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Cinderella (1965), which starred Lesley Ann Warren as the princess-to-be. In later years she won recurring/regular roles on the last season of Too Close for Comfort (1980) [retitled in 1986 as "The Ted Knight Show"] and the Suzanne Somers' sitcom She's the Sheriff (1987).

As a character actress, the cropped-blond comedienne never made much of a dent in film, which included supporting roles in With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) with Doris Day and The Brothers O'Toole (1973) with John Astin. In the late 1970s her career received a huge shot in the arm with the award-winning, one-woman show "Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein", which she also produced and won multiple theater awards, including the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk trophies. A complete departure from her usual comedy antics, audiences saw a burgeoning dramatic actress in the making. Taking the show on the road for four years, she also won a Grammy for her recorded version of the performance in 1981. She then returned to Broadway after thirty years to appear in the play "Dancing in the End Zone" (1985).

Pat surprised her fans by continuing vigorously in this vein. She began taking on Shakespearean roles and earning critical acclaim. For her interpretations of Sir John Falstaff in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and the Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet" she won bookend Helen Hayes awards. A life member of The Actors Studio, other challenging stage roles over the years have included Volpone, Mother Courage (another Helen Hayes award), the Stage Manager in "Our Town" and the Chorus in a Broadway revival of "Electra". Still interested in tickling the funny bone on occasion, she has performed in a number of adaptations of the wacky musical comedy "Nunsense" playing the Reverend Mother. If this weren't enough, she has extended herself into directing, helming a musical version of "Alice in Wonderland" for The Kennedy Center, as well as productions of "Private Lives and "The Supporting Cast".

Since the late 1980s Pat has become a voice-over favorite on numerous animated programs -- notably for Disney as the sea witch Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989). She has three children (oldest son Sean and daughters Kerry and Tara) by late husband Lee Karsian, a one-time manager and talent agent. Tara Karsian is a character actress from stage, film and TV. Kerry Karsian' is a casting director.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Lee Karsian (1 January 1955 - 8 September 1976) (divorced) (3 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Distinctive laughter

Trivia (10)

Was nominated for Broadway's 1956 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for "Catch a Star".
Mother of Tara Karsian, Kerry Karsian and Sean Karsian.
Performed in nearly 200 stock and regional theater productions before she made her Broadway debut in 1955.
As a devout Roman Catholic, her religious views inform her choice of what roles to accept, and in which productions to appear. She is reportedly a supporter of the Republican Party.
Has been directing since age 15, when she adapted scripts and staged them for the Catholic Actors Guild in Los Angeles, California.
Spent some time touring with United States Army productions as a "civilian actress technician" in post-war years.
During the summers from 1951-1953, she starred at a famous launching pad for comic talent, the Tamiment resort in Pensyslvania, where Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca got their early training.
Attended and graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, California.
Received her Bachelor's degree in Acting from the Catholic University of America.
Received an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from Siena College in Albany, New York.

Personal Quotes (13)

[About Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989)] Many people call her an octopus and I'm so knowledgeable, I have to correct. She is not an octopus, she is a squid. And they ask what that means. She has six tentacles instead of eight which makes it less expensive to draw.
(About The Little Mermaid (1989)) I had wanted all my life to work in a Disney film. So when I was contacted by the agent and he asked if I would like to audition I said "That's an answer to prayer. Of course I would!".
[on Irwin Corey] Oh my, there was no one like Irwin Corey. And he's still going strong in his 90s. He had the most unusual act in the entire theatrical heaven. The man was audacious. That's all I can tell you, absolutely audacious. I would watch him work and I couldn't figure him out. The audiences adored him because he was a constant surprise. He was an intellectual irritant. He would make you think whether you wanted to or not. He was amazing and he still is.
[on John Carradine] Carradine would work at anything if it turned a buck. He was an admirable guy. He drank too much, God bless him. So did a lot of people in those days. But the man was a good actor, he loved poetry and he loved [William Shakespeare]. I could not discount him. I enjoyed him. I found him a great raconteur. A very interesting man and a wonderful actor.
[on Jimmy Durante] I was sitting in a restaurant with him in New York when we were rehearsing the [Max Liebman] show and people were coming in off the street when they heard Durante was in there. Cops, taxi drivers, businessmen, mothers with kids. He just sat and held court for all these people.
[on Max Liebman] He could be very tough, but it was because he was a perfectionist. One time we had words. He called later and apologized, which showed he was a gentleman and a mensch, because he was wrong and I knew it. We shook hands mentally and we had no problems from there on in. But he was a perfectionist and wouldn't take anything less than the best from anybody. I loved working for him. I got to work with people like Marcel Marceau, for heaven's sake. Jack Buchanan, Jimmy Durante and the quality of stars he got for his specials was just extraordinary.
[on Jimmy Durante] Oh, how I adored Jimmy Durante since I was a child. I loved that man. I think it was the purity of him. He was who he was--and it showed. What a good man. I was doing one of the [Max Liebman] specials with Jimmy and the first day I was so in awe of him that I could barely speak. He was such a natural human being that you just had to relax around him. He made no one starchy. On the second day I was clowning around and he said, "Pat! I want you to come on my TV show!" And I thought, "Oh, isn't he cute. He's just being nice." The Morris office called me the next day and said, "Jimmy called and he wants you to do his show." I was so thrilled . . . oh my God! That thrilled me. My parents did not have a TV set. They went out and bought a television just because I was going to be on the Durante show. I told them, "Come see the show and I'll introduce you to Jimmy. I just love him so much and I know you've always loved him. Come see the show." So they didn't get to see me on TV because we didn't have recorders then. So they came to the show. We rehearsed all week at Jimmy's house. His whole place was just full of warmth and nostalgia. It was Jimmy. Here we are, it's a show my parents have come to and they're sitting up in the bleachers. Jimmy did the warm-up for the show and he was out there. He said, "Folks! I met a little girl while I was in New York doing a Liebman show . . . I liked her so much I asked her to come out here and be on my show. I'd like you to meet her! Pat Crowley!" I was standing next to the director and producer and my jaw fell. The producer shrugged and said, "Pat, that's the way he is. He can't remember names." So I walked on and said, "Jimmy, that was the nicest introduction, but I must correct you because my mom and dad are sitting up in the bleachers. My name isn't Pat Crowley." He said, "What is it?" I said, "Pat Carroll." He said, "Well then who the hell is Pat Crowley?"
[on Robert Q. Lewis] He tickled me. He was like the head reporter from a college paper. He had so much energy and how he loved what he did. I just admire people that love what they do. I don't care if it's digging ditches. I don't care if it's pushing a pencil. If you love what you do, I'm on your side and Bob Q. Lewis loved what he did.
[on Henry Morgan] What a sly-puss of a gentleman. Oh, he was a delightful humorist. I loved to see his eyes twinkle when he was tickled about something. I think the man was highly underrated. I think he was so much better than people thought he was. He was a very clever man, a very intelligent man, and he had a wildly inventive humor. I totally enjoyed anything and everything he did. A pleasure working with him.
[on Danny Kaye] Danny Kaye was a masterful showman. I don't think there was anybody else around at that time that had Danny's abilities or qualities. When I worked on a show with him I was pregnant. I remember he announced in the warm-up that I was expecting. To the audience he said, "Does daddy know?" I could have killed Danny Kaye, but the man was awfully good at what he did. Danny Kaye was an artist and that's all there was to it.
[on Red Skelton] One of God's great clowns. That man would perform on a street corner for three people. I never worked with anybody who enjoyed performing as much as that man did. The man just had a twinkle. He had a little devil in him. He loved to create a ruckus and the man would perform for just one person--with joy.
[on Sid Melton] That was another nervous nellie, God bless him. He had done [Make Room for Daddy (1953)] long before I ever appeared on the scene. He was a nervous wreck! I practically had to hold his hand and pat his brow. He'd go on and you'd think nothing was wrong. But he was so nervous. If I had been like him in any way you would have heard chattering teeth, that's just how nervous he was. But he was fun and he was a good actor and he knew exactly what his place was and played that to the nth degree. He was a wonderful companion. He really was. I always got a kick out of Sid.
[on working on Cinderella (1965)] It came the wedding scene with the horses and the horses misbehaved. Our director [Charles S. Dubin] came on the squawk box and said, "Everybody take five. Get the prop man and let's clean this up." So we all waited five minutes and then again on the squawk box, "Could somebody please get Joe and we'll clean this up so we can get on with the session!" Finally, Joe comes on set with the shovel and he stands there looking at this devastation. Finally the director says, "Joe, what is the problem?" He said, "Well, until it stops steaming it belongs to special effects."

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page