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Misc. Coll. MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle

Date: 1942 - 1950

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: B Anderson, Mary Lou *1-2; B MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle, *1-8
Misc. Coll. MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle (Scans: V:StateArchives\Special Collections\Manuscript Collections\Ruth Kyle MacDonnell)

Unit ID: 317261

Biographical sketch: Ruth Kyle MacDonnell (stage name Kyle MacDonnell) was born May 13, 1922 in Austin, Texas. Her parents George and Donna MacDonnell moved to Larned, Kansas when Kyle was five years old. She attended Larned schools, Ward Belmont School for Women in Nashville, Tennessee, and Kansas State College. She entered a Miss Air Transport Command contest where Harry Conover, who owned Conover Modeling Agency, was one of the judges. She won the contest and Conover suggested she become a model. She modeled for several years before getting a role on Broadway. She was in several Broadway productions before moving to television. Her first guest appearance was on NBC's Musical-Go-Round and before long she had her own show on NBC, a 15 minute musical/variety called For Your Pleasure. Her second show Girl About Town was sponsored by Bates Fabrics Almost and overnight MacDonnell became one of television's first stars. The final broadcast of Girl About Town took place on June 26, 1949. The television show Girl About Town was resurrected with MacDonnell as the host. The series was sometimes referred to as Kyle MacDonnell Sings or The Kyle MacDonnell Show. After For Your Pleasure was cancelled, Kyle returned to Broadway. She was in Touch and Go which would be Kyle's last time on Broadway. In April, 1949, Celebrity Time was aired on ABC and later on CBS and Kyle served as a guest panelist on the show and on May 3, 1950, Kyle became a permanent panelist. The series took a hiatus and during that time Kyle hosted a series called Hold That Camera. She returned to Celebrity Time for six months, leaving in March, 1951 to have her first child in June, 1951. By August she was back on television; however, the her television work slowed down. She moved to radio and hosted The Kyle MacDonnell Show on station WOR in New York City. She made her movie debut in Taxi which was released in January 1953. In 1952 and 1953 Kyle appeared in a number of musical theater productions, on The Mel Torme Show and Plymouth Playhouse. When her radio show ended in December, 1953, so did most of her work opportunities. In 1959 she moved back to Kansas to raise her son near her parents. Kyle made a brief comeback in 1959 when she appeared on The Jack Paar Show and on The Ed Sullivan Show. The two variety show appearances did not result in any additional television work. She was married to Norris J. McGaw (January 1942) and they later divorced. Kyle married Charles K. Laitus (1948) and they divorced. On July 19, 1950 and she married Richard H. Gordon, Jr, and they had a son born in June, 1951. She and Gordon divorced in October 1954. In 1959, she married William H. Vernon, president of the Santa Fe National Bank. After her marriage to Vernon, Kyle retired from show business and lived the rest of her life in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Title (Main title): Misc. Coll. MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle

Scope and Content

Scope and content: The Ruth Kyle MacDonnell collection documents her career as a singer, actress, and early television celebrity. It contains biographical information, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, a Life magazine cover, photographs (B MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle *1-8), and a letter from Ruth C. Lovett (Ruth Kyle MacDonnell's aunt), Larned, Kansas to Mary Lou Houdyshell, July 21, 1953 with card for Bloomer Girl autographed by Kyle MacDonnell at the Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri.


No Locators Identified

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials: Two photographs of Mary Lou Houdyshell (Anderson) who was a flower girl in Ruth Kyle MacDonnell and Norris J. McGaw's wedding in 1942. (B Anderson, Mary Lou *1-2)

Index Terms


    Larned (Kan.)
    MacDonnell, Ruth Kyle
    Motion picture actors and actresses
    Television broadcasting


General Note: Black & white and color scans of magazine articles are on V:State Archives/Special Collections/Manuscript Collections/Ruth Kyle MacDonnell and paper copies are in the collection.