Elegant July 14 event is the red-hot society ticket of the summer
By Clint Lohr
Kassandra Carroll doesn’t have time for a summer vacation.
The Toluca Lake resident just performed at Burbank’s Viva Cantina last Friday and is now rehearsing with a full band for the Toluca Lake social event of the summer this Friday, July 14 at the historic Lakeside Golf Club. It’s the Toluca Guild’s elegant benefit for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Meanwhile, she’s completing a new album of songs and entertaining her just-arrived brother Derek from their native Ireland. Whew!
“It’s a celebration of Marilyn Monroe’s performances,” Carroll says of the upcoming Lakeside event. “It’s a huge honor for me to do this fundraiser for Children’s Hospital.” According to Carroll, Monroe used to do such fundraisers. “What I’m saying is come celebrate her life with me. It’s important to keep her memory alive.”
The material will be classic Monroe. “We do a medley of about five songs: ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy,’ ‘Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ and more.”
Lakeside Golf Club is private and the attire for this glamorous “dress to impress” (no cell phones!) event is formal. Cocktails are at 6:30pm, dinner follows and then Carroll will hit the stage at 8:30.
‘I want to make people smile. That’s what it’s all about.’
On her website, CelebrateMarilyn.com, Carroll details her fascination with Monroe (who died in 1962 at just 36) beginning at age five in her hometown of Dublin. Her mother was a Marilyn fan and they used to go see her films. Carroll says her mother would sing Monroe songs with her father, who played double bass in a jazz band.
For her 11th birthday, mother and daughter traveled to Hollywood so Carroll could place her hands and feet in Monroe’s famous heel and hand prints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. She later studied acting and performance at the College of Music Ireland.
After moving to Los Angeles she met celebrity car designer George Barris, creator of TV’s Batmobile. Barris had known Monroe and told Carroll she could craft a tribute to Marilyn because she “had her energy.”
Barris went on to hire her to portray Marilyn in a Las Vegas show, Stars and Their Cars. They went to Hollywood and Carroll rode in the Batmobile in front of Grauman’s Theater. She was moved to tears when fans wanted to be photographed with her getting out of the car. Barris died in 2015. That same year, Carroll appeared as Marilyn in the feature film Baby Cries, written and directed by Serge Rocco.
Today, Carroll is often asked to sing “Happy Birthday” at events as Monroe once did for President Kennedy. She’s finishing up a music album with a tentative fall release date, and performs at club dates, corporate events and parties.
In the final analysis, Carroll says Marilyn just wanted to be loved and interest in the icon remains strong today. “I want to spread that love around and make people smile,” she says. “That’s what it’s all about.”
For more information about “An Elegant Affair” to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, contact Paula Carpenter at Ramsey Shilling at (818) 763-5162.