EmptyPat Kirkwood, a former star of British musical theater, died Dec. 25 in a nursing home in Ilkley, England. She was 86.
Kirkwood played leading roles in musicals written by Noel Coward, Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein. But the four-times-married actress was dogged her whole life by rumors of a romantic liaison with Prince Philip — which she always denied — after the two were spotted dancing at a London nightclub at a time when his wife, Princess Elizabeth, was eight months pregnant.
She rose to national prominence after her appearance in "Black Velvet" in 1939, in which she wowed critics with her renditions of Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love."
Kirkwood made a bid for Hollywood stardom, appearing in Van Johnson's "No Leave, No Love" in 1946. But the musical was a flop, and Kirkwood suffered a nervous breakdown, spending eight months in a New York sanitarium.
After World War II, Kirkwood led a sparkling career. Bernstein offered her the lead role in his 1955 London production of "Wonderful Town." She continued to work throughout the 1960s, appearing in Somerset Maugham's "The Constant Wife" and Coward's "Hay Fever."
Jeanne Carmen, the "little country girl" who became a 1950s pinup and actress and hobnobbed with Frank Sinatra and other stars, died Dec. 27 of lymphoma at her home in Irvine, Calif. She was 77.
Carmen was a teenager when she came to New York and, despite having no show business experience, immediately became a dancer in a Broadway show titled "Burlesque," with comic Burt Lahr.
She went on to model, gaining a measure of success with a series of cheesecake shots in men's magazines. One gig turned into a new career as a trick-shot golfer. On tour with golfer Jack Redmond, she would perform stunts like hitting a ball out of a man's mouth.
She came to Hollywood while in her 20s, where she appeared in such low-budget movies as "Guns Don't Argue" and "The Monster of Piedras Blancas."
Ruth Wallis, whose naughty musical numbers between the 1940s and 1960s inspired the revue "Boobs! The Musical," died Dec. 22 of Alzheimer's-related causes in Wallingford, Conn. She was 87.
Wallis sang in the Isham Jones and Benny Goodman orchestras and became known as a risque singer during the 1950s.
She made 10 comedy albums and appeared in Las Vegas, Miami and in Australia, London and New Zealand. Among her more than 150 songs were "The Dinghy Song," which sold 250,000 copies. "He's got the cutest little dinghy in the Navy, and all the girlies know that it's so," goes the song. "Just for a lark he went and painted it green. It's the only green dinghy that the girls have ever seen." The song enjoyed renewed popularity on the Dr. Demento radio show in the '70s.
Shortly after her 83rd birthday, when she had become a "sweet little grandmother living in Connecticut," "Boobs! The Musical" opened in New York and ran for nearly 300 performances with subsequent runs in New Orleans and Wichita, Kan.
Hans Otte, a German avant-garde composer and pianist, died Dec. 25 in Germany after a long illness. He was 81.
He led the music department of Radio Bremen from 1959-84. Radio Bremen, which described Otte as an "outstanding innovative spirit," said he brought avant-garde composers John Cage and David Tudor to Germany in the 1970s. Otte initiated and organized the Pro Musica Nova festival in the northern city of Bremen starting in 1961, making a name for himself as a promoter of modern music.
Otte's output ranged from musical theater to video productions and included his minimalist piano work "Buch der Klaenge," or "Book of Sounds," first performed in 1982.