We asked Kathleen to write something about herself for her fans. Thanks, Kathleen!
Who the heck am I? I was born in Montreal, Canada, to Hungarian parents who escaped Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution. My dad, Laszlo Gati, was a symphony conductor and my mother, Agnes, was an opera singer and a fashion designer. I was certainly inspired by all the music in our home, and felt a great need to “express my emotions”!
So how did all this start? Oh dear… well, when I was two, I climbed up on the toilet, stole Mom’s red lipstick out of the cabinet and smeared it all over my mouth and smiled BIG. I guess I had the inkling that I wanted to be an actress or a clown. In Hungarian the word “clown” is a nickname for an actor! Self explanatory!
When I was three, I watched on television, a famous Russian ballerina from the Bolshoi Ballet, Galina Ulanova, dance the title role of “Giselle” and I proclaimed, “I want to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet”. Mom said “Um-hum”. Shortly after I also had my first acting role as a rat in a school play, The Pied Piper of Hamlin. I was hooked! In grade two, I wrote, directed and starred in my first play in school, and my teacher, Ms. Angel made the entire class watch!
I continued doing lots of plays in elementary school and high school, including Scheherezade (she had to tell stories to stay alive… sounds like the life of an actor!) And then… when I was ten, I stood romantically gazing out the window and made up soap opera scenes: “Oh Alice, don’t leave me… but Harry I must”! Much to my chagrin, my sister heard me and made fun of me at the dinner table, where I almost died from embarrassment! However… NOW I’m proud that I was preparing the ground work! Who knew!!
I kept dancing and taking singing and acting lessons… and more dance and singing and acting lessons… until I graduated from high school six months early to pursue my career, which at the time, at the top of the list was my dream to be a prima ballerina in Russia. Mom said, “If you want to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia, you better study Russian”… so when I moved to Seattle to continue my dance studies with the First Chamber Dance Company, I also attended the University of Washington and studied Russian. Weekends I went to modeling school and acting school and Fisherman’s Wharf and ate huge apples!
I decided to bag the Russian prima ballerina path as I was too old, too stocky and always struggled to keep my weight where anyone could lift me in a pas de deux! Besides, I really wanted to do other things, like model and sing and act… so, off I went to New York City to give it all a shot! I was told I wasn’t pretty nor tall nor slim enough for modeling, so I scratched that off my list… and really just focused on the acting and singing.
New York was crazy hard… in a nutshell, the first several years, I worked in a butcher shop bookkeeping to put myself through acting school in New York City… from 6:00 AM – 2 PM, then off to acting school, first HB Studio for two years, then classes with incredible teachers from Broadway, ACT in San Francisco, American Academy, you name it! After work and after school, I ran to the theater where I performed almost every night and weekends. You know the old adage, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice! Practice! Practice!
My first major break was on a recurring role on “All My Children” in 1989. I got the great news from my answering machine by calling from a pay phone near a construction site. I burst into tears, and suddenly a group of construction guys came running over to me, wanting to know if they could help my sorrow and tears in any way… only to find out that I was crying from joy!
The rest is history, as they say! Over the years, I did tons of theater in small, medium and large theaters in Canada, New York, Los Angeles and Europe…and lots of television and film roles. At this moment, I am happily working on General Hospital as the evil and meany Dr. Liesl Obrecht. I adore this versatile role that keeps me on my toes! And hopefully yours as well!
I’d like to think I’m a reasonably normal person… although I’m sure my family and friends would beg to differ! I love turtles, popcorn, movies, kind people, baking, working out, driving, fresh cut flowers, feeding people… oh yes, and I love to act… and entertain people, whether it is making them laugh or cry or just feel something. My theory is that we as actors are “travel guides to your emotions”! Let’s go traveling!!! Thank you so much for coming with me along this journey! Without you, there is no fun trip to take you on! Your love and support mean everything!!!
With warmest appreciation,