Broadway Actor Patti Karr Dies at 88 | Playbill

Obituaries Broadway Actor Patti Karr Dies at 88 Ms. Karr appeared in over 20 Main Stem productions, including as an understudy for Chita Rivera, Gwen Verdon, and Michele Lee.

Patti Karr, who appeared in over 20 Broadway productions, died July 11, 2020, of natural causes. She was 88.

Born Patsy Lou Karkalits July 10, 1932, in St. Paul, Minnesota, she was the youngest child of Charles and Estelle (Klebold) Karkalits. Ms. Karr made her Broadway debut in 1953 as a member of the dancing ensemble in the short-lived musical Maggie. Her numerous other credits included Carnival in Flanders, Pipe Dream, Bells Are Ringing, The Body Beautiful, Redhead, Once Upon a Mattress, Do Re Mi, New Faces of 1962, Look to the Lilies, Different Times, Pippin, Lysistrata, Irene, A Broadway Musical, Got tu Go Disco, and Musical Chairs.

Patti Karr in Irene Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

Ms. Karr was also a frequent understudy and standby, most notably for Chita Rivera in The Rink, Carol Burnett in Once Upon a Mattress, Gwen Verdon in Redhead, and Michele Lee in Seesaw. In Seesaw, she would eventually take over the role of Gittel Mosca for the final months of the musical's run in 1973. She also understudied numerous parts in the 1972 revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Ms. Karr made her final Broadway appearance in the 1993 revival of My Fair Lady, playing Queen of Transylvania in a cast led by Richard Chamberlain and Melissa Errico. She also toured with the Lerner and Loewe musical. Her Off-Broadway credits included Skits-oh-Frantics!, Month of Sundays, Up Eden, The Housewives' Cantata, and I Can Get It for You Wholesale.

On screen Ms. Karr was seen in the daytime series Ryan's Hope, All My Children, Guiding Light, and The Edge of Night as well as in Quincy M. E., Happy Days, Kate & Allie, The Twilight Zone, Murder, She Wrote, The Law and Harry McGraw, Highway to Heaven, Tax Season, Cagney & Lacey, Mad About You, Sex and the City, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Our Italian Husband, The Savages, and The Sopranos.

Ms. Karr is pre-deceased by her parents, brother, and two sisters. She is survived by nieces and nephews, including Dagny Henry and Richard Karkalits. Memorial donations may be made to North Shore Animal League.


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