Volume 78 - Number 35 / January 28 - February 3, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Marianne McCarty, 86, actress who had other careers

Marianne McCarty in 1945 in “Life With Father.”

Marianne B. McCarty, a longtime resident of Greenwich Village, died Dec. 22 at St. Vincent’s Pax Christi Hospice. She was 86.

Born in Ritzville, Wa., in 1922, she had a long and varied career in theater, advertising and philanthropy.

Awarded a scholarship in drama, dance and music at Washington University’s Cornish School, she performed as a percussionist/marimba player for avant-garde composer John Cage. Earlier, as a teenager on summer break, she did a stint in vaudeville with the magician Harvey Long, assisting him and soloing on xylophone, blindfolded, while dancing.

With the World War II U.S.O. production of “Kiss and Tell” she toured military installations throughout the South Pacific. By 1945 in New York she had the role of Mary Skinner in “Life With Father” at the Empire Theater on Broadway and with its national touring company. Other credits included Maxwell Anderson’s “Storm Operation,” plus roles in movies and radio.

After her marriage to John Keating, drama critic and editor at CUE, she became an assistant to the theatrical publicist Richard Maney before moving into the world of advertising, including stints at Sterling Inc. and J. Walter Thompson. At J. Walter Thompson, she wrote and edited a biography of its founder.

After a shakeup up at the ad agency, a new opportunity opened in philanthropy. She became secretary and treasurer with the Markle Foundation; later joined the Population Council, and, finally, The Stern Fund, from which she retired in 1984.

She is survived by her second husband, Charles McCarty, a musician and international band leader long associated with the society orchestra leader Lester Lanin; McCarty was Lanin’s principal associate, or stand-in, leader from the 1981 wedding reception of Prince Charles and Lady Diana until shortly after Lanin’s death in 2004.

McCarty is also survived by her niece, Dr. Alice Gail Bier, of the University of Minnesota, and six other nephews and nieces.

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