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Friday, May 19, 2017


As I am wont to do, I was watching Classic Arts Showcase and observed this attractive female singing from Rigoletto in a 1950 clip.  She looked like a cross between Julie Andrews and Deborah Kerr.  I was surprised to learn that this was Margaret Nixon McEthron, known by her stage name as Marni Nixon.  It occurred to me that I had never before seen her face.

Certainly I remembered she was the voice of Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.  But here is a tape of the same scene with the real and decent voice of Hepburn.  And her loverly rendition of Wouldn't It be Loverly.  I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Not terrific, but just the touch you would want for her portrayal of a pitiable call girl.

So what happened to Marni Nixon?  (Here to the left in her younger days.)  Sadly, she passed away less than a year ago at the age of 86.

Who knew that she was a child film actress who also played a violin from the age of 4 and sang with the Roger Wagner Chorale?  She was an accomplished opera singer who at the age of 17 starred in the Hollywood Bowl's Carmina Burana with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Leopold Stokowski.

She was the angelic voice heard by Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948) and dubbed Margaret O'Brien singing that same year in Big City, then the following year in The Secret Garden.  Nixon provided Marilyn Monroe's high notes for Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds (1950).

She did double duty by enhancing Rita Moreno's voice in West Side Story, but only got paid because Leonard Bernstein gave her 1/4 of  1% of his personal royalties from the film.  Her only visible screen appearance was as a nun on The Sound of Music.

By any standard, she lived a successful stage life, appearing on Broadway, in a range of operas, acted in films, sang on more than 50 soundtracks, performed a lot on television and widely toured with Victor Borge and Liberace.  She taught for a lengthy period in the Santa Barbara area, won four Emmy Awards as best actress, had three husbands (the final one, Albert David Block, for a third of a century until he passed away in 2015), had three children and lived a grand life.  She wrote her memoirs as I Could Have Sung All Night.  Welcome back into my memories, Marni.

I can't let by Melissa McCarthy's latest version of Sean Spicer in Saturday Night Live go by.  This is a must click, for Trump advocates will very shortly arrange to have it deleted, and who knows how long he will continue as President.

My meals yesterday were eminently satisfying.  First, breakfast of abaraki (a German pork sausage), eggs, rice, tsukemono and sashimi with...

My lunch, a Mitsu-Ken bento of stew and garlic chicken, in the environs of the Reef Runway, where I could feel the vibration and pressure of planes taking off:

Today golf, followed by lau lau and Hawaiian food accompaniments on my lanai for sunset.  Just another terrific two days in Purgatory.


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