Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon

As BroadwayWorld sadly reported earlier this week, Marni Nixon, perhaps best known for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including THE KING AND I, WEST SIDE STORY and MY FAIR LADY, passed away from breast cancer on July 24th. She was 86.

Ms. Nixon explained her Hollywood singing arrangements to ABC News in 2007 sharing, "You always had to sign a contract that nothing would be revealed. Twentieth Century Fox, when I did 'The King and I,' threatened me. They said, if anybody ever knows that you did any part of the dubbing for Deborah Kerr, we'll see to it that you don't work in town again." Ms. Kerr was nominated in 1956 for her role as Anna in "The King and I" while Nixon received a total of $420 for her work on the film.

Nixon's career began in 1948 when she sang the voices of the angels heard by Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc. The same year, she did her first dubbing work when she provided Margaret O'Brien's singing voice in Big City and then 1949's The Secret Garden. She also dubbed Marilyn Monroe's high notes in "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). She appeared on Broadway in 1954 in The Girl in Pink Tights.

In 1956, she worked closely with Deborah Kerr to supply the star's singing voice for the film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I, and the next year she again worked with Kerr to dub her voice in An Affair to Remember. That year, she also sang for Sophia Loren in Boy on a Dolphin. In 1960, she had an on-screen chorus role in Can-Can. In 1961's West Side Story, the studio kept her work on the film (as the singing voice of Natalie Wood's Maria) a secret from the actress. She asked the film's producers for, but did not receive, any direct royalties from her work on the film, but Leonard Bernstein contractually gave her 1/4 of one percent of his personal royalties from it.

In 1962, she also sang Wood's high notes in Gypsy. For My Fair Lady in 1964, she again worked with the female lead of the film, Audrey Hepburn, to perform the songs of Hepburn's character Eliza.

Nixon's first onscreen appearance was as Sister Sophia in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. In 1967, she was the singing voice of Princess Serena in a live action and animated version of Jack and the Beanstalk on NBC.

Nixon also toured with Liberace and Victor Borge and in her own cabaret shows. On stage, in 1984, she originated the role of Edna Off-Broadway in Taking My Turn, composed by Gary William Friedman, receiving a nomination for a Drama Desk Award. She also originated the role of Sadie McKibben in Opal (1992), and she had a 1997 film role as Aunt Alice in I Think I Do. Under her own name, beginning in the 1980s, Nixon recorded songs by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Arnold Schönberg, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Anton Webern. She was nominated for two GRAMMY AWARDS for Best Classical Performance, Vocal Soloist, one for her Schönberg album and one for her Copland album.

In the 1998 Disney film Mulan, Nixon was the singing voice of "Grandmother Fa". She then returned to the stage, touring the US as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret in 1997-1998. In 2000, after nearly a half century away, she returned to Broadway as Aunt Kate in James Joyce's The Dead. In 2001, Nixon replaced Joan Roberts as Heidi Schiller in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.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 U.K. revival of My Fair Lady in the role of Mrs. Higgins.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

high res photos

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attending the 2007 Theatre World Awards for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debuts. Held at the World Stages Theatre in New York City. June 5, 2007

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attending the 2007 Theatre World Awards for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debuts. Held at the World Stages Theatre in New York City. June 5, 2007

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon & Dicl Latessa during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon & Dicl Latessa during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon & Dicl Latessa during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon & Dicl Latessa during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon, Tom Alan Robbins, Kristin Chenoweth, Joy Hermalyn, Douglas Sills, Sierra Boggess, Ryan Silverman & David Schramm during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon, Tom Alan Robbins, Kristin Chenoweth, Joy Hermalyn, Douglas Sills, Sierra Boggess, Ryan Silverman & David Schramm during the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon and Kristin Chenoweth after the final performance curtain call for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Ryan Silverman & Marni Nixon attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City.February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attends the Meet & Greet the cast of Transport Group's 'I Remember Mama' on February 12, 2014 at the Clinton Cameo Studios in New York City. February 12, 2014

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attends the Meet & Greet the cast of Transport Group's 'I Remember Mama' on February 12, 2014 at the Clinton Cameo Studios in New York City. February 12, 2014

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Lynn Cohen, Rita Gardner, Heather MacRae, Marni Nixon, Alice Cannon, Phyllis Somerville, Letty Serra, Barbara Andres, Dale Soules, and Barbara Barrie attend the Meet & Greet the cast of Transport Group's 'I Remember Mama' on February 12, 2014 at the Clinton Cameo Studios in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Harvey Evans & Marni Nixon at the Reception for "My Musical Comedy Life" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Harvey Evans & Marni Nixon at the Reception for "My Musical Comedy Life" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon & Donna McKechnie at the Reception for "My Musical Comedy Life" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attends the 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' screening at The Paley Center For Media on February 19, 2014 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attends 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
'Follies' reunion featuring Marni Nixon, Judith Ivey, Gregory Harrison, Kelli O'Hara with Michael Feinstein at the piano during a 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
'Follies' reunion featuring Marni Nixon, Judith Ivey, Gregory Harrison on stage at 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
'Follies' reunion featuring Marni Nixon, Judith Ivey, Gregory Harrison on stage at 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
'Follies' reunion featuring Marni Nixon, Judith Ivey, Gregory Harrison on stage at 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon attends 'A Tribute to Polly Bergen' at the American Airlines Theatre on March 26, 2015 in New York City.

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