Irene Kane

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Irene Kane (a.k.a. Chris Chase; * January 12, 1924 in New York City as Irene Greengard; † October 31, 2013 in New York City) was an American actress, author, and television host.


Kane was born under the name Irene Greengard, the daughter of Benjamin Greengard and Pearl Meister. Her younger brother was Paul Greengard, who later won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Irene’s birth mother, a former secretary..,[1] died in childbirth,[2] through her stepmother Murice, who married Benjamin Greengard in early 1927,[1] she had a half-sister some 14 years younger named Linda. Benjamin Greengard was originally a vaudeville performer, but later landed a job as a sales manager for a perfume company, after which the family moved to the Forest Hills neighborhood.[3][4]

Kane in The Tiger of New York (1955)

After high school, Greengard first worked for the fanzine Modern Screen, where she came to the attention of photographer Bert Stern. Through her cooperation with him, photographs of her appeared in Vogue and other fashion magazines. Stern also referred her to Stanley Kubrick, who cast the young woman, who from then on used the pseudonym Irene Kane, in the lead role of his second feature film, The Tiger of New York (1955).[3] Beginning on September 20 of that year, she also appeared on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera and in an adaptation of Eudora Welty’s The Ponder Heart. In 1958, she was cast in an episode of the television series True Story and also first appeared in Merciless City (1958). In 1960, she followed this with another stage role in Tenderloin. In the 1960s, she was cast in the series Love of Life (1962-1965), Look Up and Live (1962), and The Doctors (1964), as well as another episode in Merciless City (1963). In 1979, the blonde actress appeared once again in a feature film with Bob Fosse’s Behind the Spotlight.

In 1962, Greengard married television producer Michael Chase, son of Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Chase.[5] She adopted her husband’s surname and was thereafter mostly active as Chris Chase. In addition to acting, she increasingly devoted herself to writing, initially publishing essays, preferably in the New York Times. Her texts also became the basis of the autobiographical work How to Be a Movie Star, or A Terrible Beauty Is Born (1974). Rosalind Russell then became aware of Chase and hired her to co-write her autobiography Life Is a Banquet (1977). Through this work, Chase in turn attracted the attention of Betty Ford, who hired her as a collaborator on The Times of My Life (1978) and Betty: A Glad Awakening (1987). She also co-authored, with Jean-Claude Baker, Josephine: The Hungry Heart (1993), about Jean-Claude’s adoptive mother, Josephine Baker, and Alan King’s memoir, Name Dropping: The Life and Lies of Alan King, written with her collaboration, was published in 1996.[5][6] In addition to autobiographical and works of cultural criticism, in April 1981 she also published The Great American Waistline: Putting It On and Taking It Off, in which Chase discussed nutrition and dietary issues.

She also served briefly as a cultural commentator for the CBS Morning Show beginning in the spring of 1980[7] and subsequently served as the first anchor of CNN Media Watch.

She died of pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2013 in the city of her birth.[5]

Filmography (selection)

  • 1955: The Tiger of New York (The Killer’s Kiss)
  • 1958/63: Merciless City (Naked City) (TV series, 2 episodes)
  • 1964: The Doctors (TV series, 5 episodes)
  • 1979: Behind the Spotlight (All That Jazz)
  • 2001: Stanley Kubrick – A Life in Pictures ( documentary film)

Web links

  • Irene Kane in the Internet Movie Database (English)


  • Irene Kane in the Internet Broadway Database (English)

Individual references

  1. a b Claudia Dreifus He Turned His Nobel Into a Prize for Women. In: The New York Times. 26. September 2006, retrieved 19 August 2020 (interview with Paul Greengard; English).
  2. Profile of Paul Greengard on the website of the New York Academy of Sciences, retrieved 19 August 2020
  3. a b Paul Vitello Chris Chase, Actress Who Turned to Writing, Dies. In The New York Times. 5. November 2013, accessed 19 August 2020 (obituary; English).
  4. Irene Greengard in the 1940 Census, retrieved August 19, 2020
  5. a b c Irene Kane, star of Stanley Kubrick film Killer’s Kiss, dies. In BBC. 3. November 2013, accessed 19 August 2020 (obituary; English).
  6. Name Dropping: The Life and Lies of Alan King on the website of Publishers Weekly, retrieved on August 19, 2020
  7. Bonnie Chase Writer Chris Chase Measures the Girth of the Nation and Finds Food for Thought. In People. 23. February 1981, accessed August 19, 2020 (interview; English).