• "I am still immensely saddened by the fact we shall not hear..."
    - Patricia Denbo
  • "Wanting to write to the immensely gifted Ms. Kjellgren, I..."
    - Tracey Padron
  • "Heartfelt sadness from a grateful book listener. Katherine..."
    - Leora Gaster
  • "Ms. Kjellgren was our guest at the East Meadow Public..."
    - Donna Ballard
  • "To David, Alice and Eric - my deepest condolences."
    - Sadler Hayes


an award-winning narrator of more than 250 audiobooks who was beloved for her musicality, color and range, died on Wednesday, January 10 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital. She was 48 years old. The cause was complications from cancer. Born and raised in New York City, Katherine ("Katy" to family and friends) was educated at the Town School (where her mother was a teacher), and the Calhoun School. After graduation, Katherine trained to be an actress in London. She studied at the British American Drama Academy (BADA) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). After graduating from LAMDA, she appeared on stage in London, New York and Frankfurt. Katherine lived in London for 12 years, but eventually returned to New York in 2000. She played Laura in a 2003 production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. For her acting, Katherine dropped the "J" from her surname, appearing as Katherine Kellgren. As a youth, Katherine developed a passionate admiration for the audio recordings of Sir John Gielgud performing in the works of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. When her father was ill from the effects of Parkinson's disease, she often read to him. In this way, she gravitated to the world of audiobooks. Over the years, Katherine lent her voice to several popular series, such as L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack seafaring adventures; Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place; and Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness. She also recorded classic literature such as Henry James's The Golden Bowl, Bram Stoker's Dracula, tales by Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). She especially liked recording young-adult literature. She was extraordinarily diligent about researching accents, pronunciations and songs that resulted in a vibrant, dynamic, fully characterized sound world. Katherine was a four-time winner of the Best Female Narrator Audie Award, and won a total of 13 Audie Awards. Among her titles are five recipients of the American Library Association's Odyssey Honor, as well as numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards, Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards, and ForeWord Magazine's Audiobook of the Year. She was named a Voice of Choice by Booklist Magazine and is on AudioFile Magazine's list of Golden Voices. In 2017, she was inducted into Audible's Narrator Hall of Fame. Katherine was a devoted museumgoer, rare-book collector and lover of Italy, particularly Venice. She made frequent trips to London to see her many friends. She is survived by her husband, David Cote, her mother, Alice, her brother, Eric, her sister-in-law, Meg Black, and her uncle, Roger Payne. She was predeceased by her father, Bengt, and her brother, Nicholas. A memorial service is being planned for a future date.

Published in The New York Times on Jan. 17, 2018
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