Marni Nixon

Marni Nixon

Birth
Altadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 24 Jul 2016 (aged 86)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 167384323 · View Source
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Singer. A soprano who had a significant stage, screen, and recording career of her own, she shall be far better remembered as the "Ghostess with the Mostest", the dubbed voice of numerous starlets in Hollywood musicals. Born Margaret Nixon McEathron, she manifested her talent early, began violin study at four, took private voice lessons while assuming a string of bit parts and working as a messenger for MGM, and at 17 performed Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" with Leopold Stokowski and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Marni received her first major dubbing gig when she sang a Hindu lullaby for Margaret O'Brien in 1949's "The Secret Garden". She developed a concert following in New York, in 1953 provided Marilyn Monroe's high notes for the signature number "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", then in 1954 made her own Broadway debut with "The Girl in Pink Tights"; she worked closely with Deborah Kerr during the making of the 1956 classic "The King and I", an effort which netted Miss Kerr an Oscar nomination, the producers large profits from the film and album, and Marni $420, a paltry sum delivered with stern warnings about the consequences of revealing her participation. She went on to provide the singing voices of Natalie Wood in "West Side Story", Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady", Jeanne Crain in "Cheaper By the Dozen", Ida Lupino in "Jennifer", and several dozen other ladies in various features. While she always kept her end of the deal, her name became common knowledge anyway, though she was to state she was never bothered by her behind the scenes status until she saw Natalie Wood getting all the credit for her work on "West Side Story". Marni made regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic as well as at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, was Eliza in a 1964 Broadway revival of "My Fair Lady", on the West Coast had a busy operatic career with the Los Angeles Grand Opera, the Seattle Opera, and the San Francisco Opera, her roles including Susanna of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro", Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos", Violetta from Verdi's "La Traviata", and both Konstanze and Blonde in Mozart's "The Abduction From the Seraglio", and for many years toured in her one-woman-show "Marni Nixon: The Voice of Hollywood". A longtime professor at Valencia's California Institute for the Arts, she made acclaimed discs of Gershwin and Kern songs, albeit for the hard to find boutique label Reference Recordings, was seen on "Law & Order: SVU", was the voice of Grandmother Fa in 1998's "Mulan", and continued singing in public and taking small roles in Broadway productions until well past her 80th birthday. At her death from breast cancer, she could be heard on a large number of CDs, while 'ghost artists' routinely received screen credits and royalties, benefits for which she had long campaigned.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 24 Jul 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 167384323
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Marni Nixon (22 Feb 1930–24 Jul 2016), Find A Grave Memorial no. 167384323, ; Maintained by Bob Hufford (contributor 46784943) Unknown.