Kitty Carlisle (also billed as Kitty Carlisle Hart; September 3, 1910 – April 17, 2007) was an American singer, actress and spokeswoman for the arts. She is best remembered as a regular panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth. She served 20 years on the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Arts from President George H. W. Bush.
Kitty Carlisle was born as Catherine Conn (Kitty is a nickname for Catherine; the surname was pronounced Cohen) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her family was of German Jewish heritage. Her grandfather, Ben Holtzman, was the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana. A Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, Holtzman had been a gunner on the CSS Virginia, perhaps better known as by its previous Union name of Merrimack, the famous Confederate ironclad warship that fought the USS Monitor. Carlisle's father, Dr. Joseph Conn, was a gynecologist who died when she was 10.
Her mother, Hortense Holtzman Conn, was a woman obsessed with breaking into the prevailing Gentile society. (She once said to a taxi driver who asked if her daughter were Jewish, "She may be, but I'm not.") Carlisle's early education took place in New Orleans. In 1921, she was taken to Europe, where her mother hoped to marry her off to European royalty, believing the nobility there more amenable to a Jewish bride — only to end up flitting around Europe and living in what Carlisle recalled as "the worst room of the best hotel." Carlisle was educated at the Chateau Mont-Choisi in Lausanne, Switzerland, then at the Sorbonne and the London School of Economics. She studied acting in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.