Ruth Kraft, Theatre Journalist and Publisher, Dies at 86
By Robert Simonson
Ruth Kraft, a theatre journalist and publisher who worked at Playbill magazine and was co-founder of Performing Arts magazine in Los Angeles, died in her sleep May 9. She had been battling cancer for many years. Mrs. Kraft was 86.
Born in Hoboken, NJ, on Feb. 17, 1927, she was the daughter of Florence and Solomon Nathanson. After working a variety of odd jobs, she landed a position on the staff of Playbill.
In 1966 she moved to Los Angeles with her husband, Gilman Kraft, a former owner of Playbill. Together, they began Performing Arts magazine, a publication similar to Playbill that served California theatres. Each monthly issue featured stories about the California theatre scene, as well as information about that evening's performance. The programs, which were supported by advertising, were handed out free of charge at theatres.
Performing Arts, along with its parent publication Stagebill, was purchased by Playbill in 2001. Performing Arts folded as a working title a year later.
Mrs. Kraft was active in the Golden Key Foundation, The Westside Center for Independent Living, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also invested in real estate in Beverly Hills and Malibu.
Gilman Kraft died in 1999. Mrs. Kraft is survived by her sons, Frank Pelosa of Eureka, CA, and Richard Kraft of Malibu; and her daughters, Susan Holley of Los Angeles and Dana Kraft Kitaj of Westwood.
A celebration of Ruth Kraft's life will be held at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, 340 North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210 at 4 PM on May 14. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Westside Center for Independent Living, the Tower Cancer Foundation, and/or The Heart Fund.
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