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Patt Morrison interviews nearly 100-year-old actress Patricia Morison

by Patt Morrison | Off-Ramp®

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Patt Morrison (left), with actress Patricia Morison at Ms. Morison's apartment in Park La Brea. Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

UPDATE: Thursday, March 19, is Broadway icon Patricia Morison's 100th birthday. Please leave your birthday greetings for her in the comments section below!

On Sunday, March 15, veteran Broadway actress Patricia Morison will perform one more time. The 99-year-old star of shows like "Kiss Me Kate" and "The King and I" will take part in a live conversation at the University Club in Pasadena. She'll even sing a few of her favorite songs. 

We at Off-Ramp believe strongly that anyone a century old deserves to be on the radio, and with Patricia Morison about to turn 100 on March 19, we knew the perfect person person to interview her: KPCC's own Patt Morrison. Interview highlights are below:

On getting started in acting

I wanted an arts scholarship. I was in Washington Irving High School in New York. And they were doing a play called "Growing Pains" about teenagers and I got a part in it. And I was so bad they fired me. And I cried so hard they gave me a walk on! That was my first experience. 

[Then], they were auditioning for a British musical called "The Two Bouquets" — it's sort of a spoof of Victorian operettas. They took me — all these women were auditioning — and I was terrified! I'd never auditioned. And they put me up on the stage and said "Now, don't worry, be comfortable!"

I got the part. And Alfred Drake was my leading man.

On playing on Broadway and on screen opposite Yul Brynner 

It was a big adventure, a lot of fun. I have to tell you, when I first was going to be interviewed — going to meet him — somebody had asked him what he thought of me. He said "I don't know, I haven't been to bed with her yet!"

I made up my mind that was not going to be. So I go to his dressing room — knock the door of his dressing room — he said "come in," and he's sitting in front of the mirror nude! I looked him in the eyes and I said "Mr. Brynner, you wished to speak to me?"

He said, "Well, you know I have stay in my body." I said "Oh, I understand." 

We ended up the best of friends.

On her first appearance on-screen

I enjoyed my first movie — "Persons in Hiding" — in which I played Kitty Kelly, the actual wife of Machine Gun Kelly. She made him public enemy No. 1 because she liked perfume. Perfume and furs, things like that.

And the way she was caught — [Machine Gun Kelly] had been caught, and she was on the run. Well, she couldn't resist going in and buying a bottle of perfume from the perfume shop.

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