Remembering Kate Vanderliet
Kate Vanderliet grew up in Orinda, California, attending summer sessions at the San Francisco Ballet School. She was a principal dancer in Hello Hollywood, Hello! starring Carol Channing, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. She also played Val in A Chorus Line after the hotel had been bought by Bally’s. She became a star at The Lido in Paris, and was known for her dazzling charisma on stage. Chic, petite, and sophisticated, she commanded attention and respect.
Her death was a severe shock to many; she was only 58. She passed away from ovarian cancer. Those who worked with her described her as having boundless energy and enthusiasm. She was down to earth, friendly and open. Realistic about her career, she did not pursue ballet. She was 6 feet tall, and extremely lean and toned. Her legs and hips were beautifully sculpted; she almost looked like a mannequin. She knew her future was in the Vegas style spectaculars, and and she pursued it.
A lover of the outdoors, she spent many happy days in Lake Tahoe, skiing with her close friend, John Paul Reaves. She was always so excited about going. Although many of the other dancers spent their time training and rehearsing in the ballet studio, Kate loved to ride her bike, hike and ski. She had wonderful times at the lake with her close friends. She was sporty and athletic, and a passionate fan of Barbra Streisand. She used to blast Barbra’s albums at home, and sing along with them at the top of her lungs. She later became a singer at The Lido, and effortlessly belted out “Tits And Ass” with ease in A Chorus Line. She had many talents.
Lido de Paris : Dernière de C’est Magique !
Self directed and a leader, she described herself as a one on one person, especially in love. She had many close, intimate friends. Her bright aura attracted people to her like a magnet. She made you feel very special, loved and understood. She was highly intelligent and sensitive, and a graduate of the University of Irvine.
Arriving very early in the dressing room at MGM, she was usually the first one there. She had her dramatic stage make-up fully completed hours before the show. It was her nightly ritual, as she sat tall and erect in the Bluebell dressing room. She possessed impeccable skill with her hands, especially when it came to calligraphy or applying stage make-up. Being very exact and precise, she gave extremely thoughtful, personal gifts. Her hand written cards showcased her distinctive, artistic handwriting. She always signed them, “All my love, Kate xxx” She was very expressive, on many levels.
She had a warrior side, as well, and did not tolerate poor treatment. She maintained high standards in love, and insisted on respect and loyalty. She was in Paris when the terrorists attacked. She described them furiously as “barbarians.”
When she was first performing in Hello Hollywood, she would to run to her cues backstage. In spite of being told not to, she continued to fly around the backstage area, from the dressing room to the wings. Eventually she was called into the office and given a pink slip. She ran into the office.
Those who knew her will miss her kindness, generosity and open heart.