Born in 1964, Kathleen Wilhoite grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and began singing in her church choir from the first grade. Two years later, she was performing on stage, as part of a back-up choir, with The Carpenters, at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. All the while, she studied piano and songwriting and appeared in her high school’s theater productions, such as “The House of Blue Leaves”. Kathleen wrote and sang as one of the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Girls”, a harmony group inspired by The Andrews Sisters. She also became the youngest member of the Santa Barbara Songwriters Guild (age 16).
After high school, Kathleen elected to pursue an acting career, as opposed to music, and enrolled at the USC Drama School. Just a couple of months later, she landed her first movie role in Private School (1983). Throughout the 1980s, she appeared in a number of film and TV projects as both leads and second leads where her brash sexuality and unconventional style was eagerly put on display. She appeared noticeably opposite Charles Bronson in Murphy’s Law (1986), Jane Fonda in The Morning After (1986), Robert De Niro in Angel Heart (1987), Amy Irving in Crossing Delancey (1988), Patrick Swayze in Road House (1989), and Debra Winger and Nick Nolte in Everybody Wins (1990), and Susan Sarandon and Nolte in Lorenzo’s Oil (1992). While her acting career flourished, she continued to expand her music skills but was dealt with a few setbacks, including a contract with Mercury Records that fell through. After a brief sojourn to Texas to refocus intently on her music, Kathleen returned to the Hollywood rat race and eased back in as a “working actress”. A variety of offbeat roles in such movies as Nurse Betty (2000) and Pay It Forward (2000) has kept her name active on the credits list for over two decades. She landed a number of challenging roles on such shows as L.A. Law (1986) and ER (1994) and, more recently, Gilmore Girls (2000) — portraying everything from drugged-out moms to the mentally-challenged. In the late 1980s, Kathleen was chosen by cartoonist Cathy Guisewite to give vocal life to her “Cathy” creation on animated TV.
Married to record producer/drummer David Harte and the mother of three children, Kathleen was signed by her husband to his “The Daves” record label (the other “Dave” is booking agent David Surnow) and released two CDS – “Pitch Like a Girl” (1997) and “Shiva” (2000). In sync with both her edgy acting and music style, she wrote and performed an autobiographical one-woman show, “Stop Yellin’,” directed by Kathy Najimy, in which she sings her own music and performs monologues.
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