Katharine “Kat” Kramer Even her name evokes a show business legend. Ms. Kramer was named after her godmother Katharine Hepburn – and had she been born a boy, she would have been named Spencer, for Spencer Tracy, her father – filmmaker, Stanley Kramer’s friend. Instead, she was named Katharine (with an “a”), and grew up with the legacy of two show business history legends. A former Miss Golden Globe, Kat Kramer resides in Los Angeles.
Music has always been an important part of Katharine’s life. She was choreographing ballets at the age of five and was a child prodigy of dance, studying with the renowned choreographer Eugene Loring. For a while, she seemed destined for a future in the world of dance. But somewhere down the line, Katharine changed her mind, and decided to pursue a career as an actress and singer.
As an actress, Ms. Kramer has appeared on stage and screen. She has starred in two popular one-woman shows, The Colors of Myself and Kriss Krossing and won awards for her roles as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. She has also appeared in such films as Hollywood Dreams, Going Shopping, What Just Happened and, recently, Little Fockers. She will also be seen in the upcoming film Katie Q, with Karen Black, Paul Sand and Zack Norman.
Kat Kramer is a big-time Mick Jagger fan. As a singer herself, Ms. Kramer is recording Gemstone, an album of Mick Jagger love songs, each as a duet with a different artist who has previously worked with Sir Mick. As a producer, she is developing a web series about the making of her album, titled My Duet with Mick. Ms. Kramer received a rousing ovation with a special musical tribute to her friend and mentor Lily Tomlin at the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Awards in 2012.
Kat Kramer also received the “Compassion” Award from the Braveheart Women’s Organization. A fixture at Hollywood events, Ms. Kramer has headlined at awards shows and galas for such luminaries as Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Shirley MacLaine. Kat also proudly serves as the West Coast representative of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. She sold-out her first acting workshop for “Meet The Biz,” and launched “An Evening With A Trailblazer” with David S. Zimmerman in 2013. Kat’s one-woman-show is not to be missed.
Kat Kramer’s Films That Change the World
Kat Kramer founded Kat Kramer’s Films That Change the World to showcase motion pictures that raise awareness about important social issues. In so doing, she is following in her Father’s footsteps, who was known for taking artistic and financial chances by making movies about controversial subjects. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner comes to mind. Kat Kramer premiered the powerful new documentary Teach Your Children Well, which deals with the growing problem of bullying in schools. Previous selections in her screening series have included The Cove, the Academy Award-winning documentary film which exposed the slaughter of dolphins in Japan; Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy, about the suffering of elephants in captivity; and Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, which focused attention on women’s equality, and was used as a springboard for a discussion about the widespread sexual abuse of women in the Congo
Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
At the opening night gala for the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, MAY 1-8, 2014, Sid Caesar Will Be Honored. Sid Caesar, the iconic actor, comedian and writer who died in February, 2014, won two Emmys and was nominated 11 times. The New York Times called him the ”…comedian of comedians from TV’s early days.”
The opening gala will feature a compilation of ten of the funniest sketches from Caesar’s hit sketch comedy series which appeared on television in the 1950′s. Carl Reiner will also be honored with a LAJFF Lifetime Achievement Award by Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond.
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, which recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, will be one of the films featured at the festival.
Cupcakes, a musical comedy from Israeli director Eytan Fox and Transit, Philippine entry for Best Foreign Language Film will also be shown.
For Tickets and Info starting 4/15/14
Karen Sharpe Kramer
Svelte and stunning Texas-born Karen Sharpe was put into ballet shoes as a youngster. Her initial excursion to California was at age 12 in the interest of becoming a professional ice skater, but the lure of being a movie star intervened. Her training as a teenager in the theater paid off and, in 1952, she appeared in Stanley Kramer’s production of The Sniper (1952), directed by Edward Dmytryk. Her role consisted solely of three lines delivered while sitting on a drugstore stool and ordering a cherry phosphate. Although she did not personally meet Kramer at the time, it would be a foreshadowing of a future lifelong relationship.
As a billboard model, Karen graced such popular magazine covers as “Cosmopolitan” and “Pageant.” On film, MGM featured her as Janice Rule’s kid sister in Holiday for Sinners (1952) opposite William Campbell. Campbell went on to appear with her in other films as well, and they were paired as husband and wife in an episode of Stagecoach West (1960) in 1961. Producer Hal Roach gave her a break by featuring her in the popular “White Rain” commercials, where she danced her way to fame across the tops of rows of shampoo bottles, and he also chose her to represent his studio as Modern Screen Magazine’s Golden Key Award winner as 1952’s “Star of Tomorrow.” Columbia Pictures picked up on this recognition and placed her in the Hugo Haas melodrama Strange Fascination (1952). Monogram Pictures offered her a starring role in Army Bound (1952), which led to her being cast in Walter Mirisch’s cult programmer Bomba and the Jungle Girl (1952) with Johnny Sheffield (who played “Boy” in the Tarzan series) playing Bomba to Karen’s lovely “Jungle Girl.” The John Payne western The Vanquished (1953) followed, for Paramount Pictures. The film also starred Jan Sterling, who went on to appear with Karen in a couple of other major films and become a close friend and mentor as well.
After filming the crime drama Mexican Manhunt (1953) starring George Brent for Allied Artists, Karen received the biggest break of her young career. Director William A. Wellman cast her in the Wayne-Fellows-Warner Brothers epic airline disaster film The High and the Mighty (1954). An all-star ensemble, it featured Karen as Nell Buck, an amorous bride who allays her fears of certain death with the ecstasies of passion for new husband Milo (played by John Smith). Karen’s standout performance garnered her the 1954 Golden Globe Award for “New Star of the Year.” As a result, the film’s star and producer, John Wayne, put her under contract to his new company, Batjac. Loaned out to Ida Lupino’s company for Mad at the World (1955), Karen then co-starred in United Artists’ Man with the Gun (1955) opposite Robert Mitchum. Cast in Batjac’s Man in the Vault (1956), she went on loan again, this time for Columbia’s war picture Tarawa Beachhead (1958).
In the 1950s, against the concerns of the studios but with the encouragement of John Wayne, who advised her to “do anything and everything you can to grow as an artist,” Karen made herself available for television. Taking Wayne’s advice to heart, she found a creative and demanding outlet performing in “live” drama with roles on Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951), General Electric Theater (1953), Climax! (1954), _”Matinee Theater” (1955)_ , Playhouse 90 (1956) and Lux Playhouse (1958), among others. She also appeared in episodes of such classic TV shows as The Loretta Young Show (1953), Gunsmoke (1955), Perry Mason (1957), Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1958), _”77 Sunset Strip” (1958/I)_ , Bonanza (1959), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) and The Wild Wild West (1965). Karen went on to co-star in Aaron Spelling’s very first television series, Johnny Ringo (1959).
Following a hiatus from Hollywood while straightening out family estate matters, Karen was cast in the pilot for I Dream of Jeannie (1965) as Larry Hagman’s fiancé and Jeannie’s attractive nemesis. While waiting for the pilot to be sold (which, of course, it did), Jerry Lewis signed her to play opposite him in Paramount’s The Disorderly Orderly (1964) as lovesick nurse Julie Blair who wins Jerry’s affections in the end. It was during that filming that she met Stanley Kramer, who was directing Ship of Fools (1965) at the same time on the Paramount lot. Karen’s focus was on her career, however, and a year went by before they actually started dating in January of 1966. After a relatively brief courtship, they married in 1966, following her completion of the Universal pilot Valley of Mystery (1967).
Choosing to close the chapter on her acting career, Karen opened a new and rewarding one as full-time wife, mother (of two), and assistant to her husband. With the creation of KNK Productions, Inc., Karen established herself as a producer. Among her many successful projects is a remake of her husband’s western classic High Noon (2000), as well as the prospective “Defiant One,” a documentary examining Kramer’s prolific career, and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” a big-screen sequel to his It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Kramer passed away on February 19, 2001. Since then, the ever-busy and vivacious Karen has maintained the Stanley Kramer Library. In addition, she also established the Stanley Kramer Award at the Producer’s Guild, and the Stanley Kramer Fellowship Award in Directing at UCLA in 2001. Both of these awards honor socially conscious young filmmakers.
Thank you Announcer / Voice Actor Jordan Farelli.
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