Felicia Montealegre

Born 6 February 1922. Died 16 June 1978.


Felicia Cohn Montealegre (6 February 1922 – 16 June 1978) was an American stage and television actress born in Costa Rica. From 1951 until her death, she was the wife of American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Cohn Montealegre was born in the community of Amón, Carmen district, San José, Costa Rica, the daughter of Clemencia Montealegre Carazo, who was born in Costa Rica, and Roy Elwood Cohn, the American head of the American Smelting and Refining Company (not to be confused with Roy Cohn, the aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy). She was raised Catholic, and later converted to Judaism, when marrying Leonard Bernstein (her own paternal grandfather had been Jewish). She established herself in New York. She studied piano with Claudio Arrau and met composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein at a party Arrau gave in 1946. She and Bernstein were engaged to be married but this was broken off. Subsequently she had an affair lasting for several years with Broadway and Hollywood actor Richard Hart. After Hart's death, she married Bernstein in 1951. They had three children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina.

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