Singer Marni Nixon died of breast cancer on Sunday at the age of 86


Marni Nixon, an American singer died of breast cancer on Sunday. Nixon first had breast cancer in 1985. She is best known for having dubbed the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including ‘The King and I’, ‘West Side Story’ and ‘My Fair Lady’.

In 1950, Nixon married the first of her three husbands, Ernest Gold, who composed the theme song to the movie Exodus. They had three children, including songwriter Andrew Gold. They divorced in 1969. She was married to Dr. Lajos “Fritz” Fenster from 1971 to 1975, and to woodwind player Albert Block from 1983 to his death in 2015. She is survived by three sisters, two daughters from her first marriage, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Nixon’s varied career included some film roles of her own, television, opera, concerts with major symphony orchestras around the world, musicals on stage throughout the United States, and recordings.

Nixon’s career in film began in 1948 when she sang the voices of the angels heard by Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948). The same year, she did her first dubbing work when she provided Margaret O’Brien’s singing voice in 1948’s Big City and then 1949’s The Secret Garden. She appeared on Broadway in 1954 in The Girl in Pink Tights.

In 2000, after nearly a half century away, she returned to Broadway as Aunt Kate in James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’. She played Eunice Miller in 70, Girls, 70 in a 2002 production in Los Angeles. In 2003, she was again on Broadway as a replacement in role of Guido’s mother in the revival of Nine. Her autobiography, I Could Have Sung All Night, was published in 2006. She performed in the 2008 North American Tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s UK revival of My Fair Lady in the role of Mrs. Higgins.

Kerr gave Nixon her original costumes to wear in a stage production of ‘The King and I’

“I sat in on her singing lessons, so I could hear not only the Cockney and the upper-class British, which are two different voices. But I also had to get her very unique speech patterns, so I had to listen very carefully so I could catch it.” “It’s fascinating, getting inside the actresses you’re singing for,” she told The New York Journal-American in 1964. “It’s like cutting off the top of their heads and seeing what’s underneath. You have to know how they feel, as well as how they talk, in order to sing as they would sing – if they could sing.”

However, not every actress cherished her help.

“She didn’t know how much of her work would be done by somebody else,” Nixon later recalled. “She didn’t know that it would all be thrown out and that it would be all my voice. I don’t think that Natalie Wood’s ego could take that.”

On October 27, 2008, Nixon was presented with the Singer Symposium’s Distinguished Artist Award in New York City. She was also an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Women’s Music Fraternity. Marni Nixon also known as Hollywood’s “invisible voice”.

Nixon died at the age of 86 of breast cancer on Sunday.


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