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Iowa History Daily: April 24 - Iowa Performer Ruth Kobart

Iowa History Daily: On April 24, 1924, singer and actress Ruth Kobart was born in Des Moines. Over a multifaceted career Kobart wowed audiences in opera, Broadway musical theater, regional theater, films, and television.

Born in Iowa’s capital city as Ruth Maxine Kahn, the aspiring performer headed east to study at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago before appearing in an off-Broadway production of Hansel and Gretel as the witch. Expanding out, Kobart toured with NBC Opera Theater and the New York City Opera.

In 1955, Kobart made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pipe Dream. She understudied leading lady Helen Traubel and played her role forty two times during the show's run. Additional Broadway credits included “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “A Flea in Her Ear,” and “Three Sisters.” She was nominated for the 1963 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “Forum.”

Moving to film for the adaptation of “How to Succeed in Business,” Kobart continued to garner a variety of roles across the decades. Appearing in “Dirty Harry” as the bus driver and in both “Sister Act” and “Sister Act 2,” Kobart left a long legacy playing a wide-variety of characters. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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