Katie had Witz about her to launch a TV career

AS a producer and documentary maker, Katie Lander is sometimes privy to things the general public do not usually see.

Take, for instance, a touching moment between rock star Gene Simmons and acting legend Tony Curtis.

Katie was one of the producers behind the Shrink Rap series, where psychologist — and former actress — Pamela Stephenson interviewed well-known names using psychotherapeutic techniques.

Kiss frontman Simmons was born Chaim Witz in Israel to a Hungarian Holocaust survivor mother, while the parents of Curtis — who was born Bernard Schwartz — were Hungarian Jewish immigrants to America.

“We were in Los Angeles, where Tony Curtis was also one of the guests, and there was a delay because Gene had to go somewhere and then come back,” Katie told me from her home in Glasgow.

“It meant Gene and Tony bumped into each other, and they started chatting in Hungarian.”

Mixing with the great and the good is a far cry from Katie’s early years in Didsbury, Manchester.

The joint-managing director of Finestripe Productions, Katie is the daughter of Pauline and Lenny Lander.

Raised in an observant Jewish home, she and her family were members of South Manchester Synagogue, which was then located in Wilbraham Road, Fallowfield.

Katie, who was batmitzvah at the shul, attended Manchester High School for Girls.

She did not have a clear career path and so took a job as a receptionist at Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio before moving into its press and promotions department.

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