BIOGRAPHY
 

 

On the musical comedy stage Patrice starred in "The Merry Widow", "Hello Dolly", "The Sound of Music" (with her children), "Applause", "My Fair Lady", "The King and I" (once with her children), and many other shows which have become national institutions. She has been directed by some of the most famous directors on the stage (in operas by Alfred Lunt, Garson Kanin, and Cyril Ritchard, and in motion pictures by Joseph Mankiewicz) and she tells of the time that Cyril Ritchard directed her in "La Perichole" at the Met. Cyril suggested that it would be a brilliant piece of stage business if Pat, at the end of her last act, exited the stage sitting on top of a donkey. Not suspecting anything, Pat agreed. The night of the performance when the audiences were enthusiastically applauding the performances, the donkey was led off stage with Pat sitting on her ass, led out by her lover. But, what she hadn't expected was, that, as she was being led off stage, Cyril arrived on the stage, in a spectacular white uniform, seated on a spectacular white horse, waving to the audience, as they cheered hysterically at the end of the performance. Pat was stunned. Instead of the principles taking their final exits to wild applause, it was Cyril who got the ovation on his white horse with his white uniform. Not only was Pat stunned but she was infuriated, as well. But, with her usual aplomb, she returned to a standing ovation and she learned a lesson she always followed throughout her years in show business...be wary of any director/actor who is appearing in the same show, who gives you a "brilliant" piece of stage business!

By now, she was in great demand, in all mediums and has such a heavy schedule that one wonders how she ever managed it. But she did and she loved every minute of it. So when her husband, Bob Shuler, went into negotiations with ABC Television and Westinghouse to produce "The Patrice Munsel Show" she readily agreed to do it and rehearsals began for the half hour weekly show which was to be rehearsed at their enormous estate on Long Island. All of the guest stars were picked up by limos (an unheard of thing in those days), no one thought the stars would agree to travel all the way to Long Island to rehearse, but they did and loved every minute of it. The show was highly successful and went off the air when Pat's pregnancy made fitting her costumes difficult. The show included almost every business legend in the entertainment field. Performers like Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Martha Raye, Julius La Rosa, John Raitt, and many others were featured on the show and the talent was phenomenal. Larry Gelbart, writer of "Mash", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" did the scripts and a list of show business luminaries comprised the rest of the staff.