Born Catherine Conn in New Orleans, Carlisle performed on Broadway in several operettas and musical comedies as a young woman, and in such films as Murder at the Vanities, A Night at the Opera, She Loves Me Not, and Here Is My Heart.
In the 1950s and '60s, she became a household name with her appearances as a panelist on TV's To Tell the Truth. A trained operatic soprano, Carlisle sang the role of Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera. Late in life, she appeared in the films Radio Days and Six Degrees of Separation. In 1984, she returned to Broadway in the hit revival of Rodgers and Hart's On Your Toes.
Carlisle served as chair of the New York State Council of the Arts from 1976 to 1996. In recent years, she performed in nightclubs around the country, including Feinstein's at the Regency, and was a frequent presence at openings, benefits, and other events.
She married writer/director Moss Hart in 1946; he died in 1961. The couple had two children, Christopher and Catherine, who survive their mother and who will also participate in the memorial service.