|Birth: ||Nov. 9, 1908|
St. Louis County
|Death: ||Jul. 2, 1998|
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Author and Entertainer. Born Catherine L. Fink, she wrote the Eloise series of childhood adventure books. A noted actress, singer, dancer, composer, she was considered one of the entertainment industry's leading vocal arrangers. Kay began her career in the 1930s as a night club singer and songwriter, and by mid-decade, had become the primary vocal arranger on the radio shows "Tune Up", "Your Hit Parade", and "The Chesterfield Show." During this period, she worked frequently with noted musicians Fred Waring and Andre Kostelanetz. She arranged vocals with Hugh Martin for the Broadway show "Hooray for What!" (1937), and worked with him on the film "Manhattan Merry-Go-Round" (1937), which also marked her debut as a performer in motion pictures. In the 1940s, Hugh Martin was the chief vocal arranger at MGM studios. When he was drafted in World War II, he suggested to MGM producer, Arthur Freed, that Thompson replace him at the studio. While at MGM, she worked with many stars such as Lena Horne, Gene Kelly and June Allyson. Thompson applied her vocal arrangements to such memorable films as "Ziegfeld Follies" (1946), "The Harvey Girls" (1946), "Good News" (1947), and Vincente Minnelli's "The Pirate" (1948). She worked closely with Minnelli's former wife, Judy Garland and was godmother to their daughter Liza Minnelli; later she assisted mother and daughter with their early live performances. In 1955, inspired by her goddaughter Liza Minnelli, Thompson published her first book, "Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grownups." The story of a mischievous six-year-old living in New York's Plaza Hotel. At the time, Thompson herself was residing at The Plaza Hotel. The book was a success and it spawned three sequels. She founded Eloise Ltd. to market character-related merchandise and television specials. In 1957, she returned to acting with her performance as Maggie Prescott in the film "Funny Face." She served as creative consultant and vocal arranger for Judy Garland's 1962 television special guest starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. In 1963, Thompson moved from her beloved Plaza Hotel to the top floor of the Palazzo Torlonia in Rome. Ever busy, she appeared in her final film "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon" (1970), with goddaughter Liza Minnelli. In the late 1970s, she was a creative consultant to friend and fashion designer Halston. In the 1980s, at the request of her goddaughter, she moved into Liza's Upper East Side penthouse in Manhattan, where years later, she passed away. Thompson was married twice, once to bandleader Jack Jenney, and once to radio producer William Spier. She once commented on her past relationships, "I love love and I believe in divorce. Two great things. I've lived with quite a few men and alone is better. That doesn't mean I'm a loner; I just don't like to ask permission." She had no children. One of Kay's sisters, Blanche Hurd, was designated as her literary heir, and was the commanding interest in the Eloise franchise beginning in 1998. After Blanche's death in 2002, the estate passed to Hurd's two children. Film director Sam Irvin has written a biography, "Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise," scheduled for November 2010 publication by Simon & Schuster.
Truman Elliott Jenney (1910 - 1945)*
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashes given to family in 1998.
Created by: katzizkidz
Record added: Jan 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33308785