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VIDEO: On This Day, February 15- Celebrating the Life and Career of Stage Legend, Ethel Merman

On this day in 1984, Ethel Merman, a Broadway institution known as the "undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage, passed away at the age of 76.

After being discovered by Vinton Freedley as a singer at Brooklyn's Paramount movie theatre, she was signed to star in the Gershwin's new Broadway hit GIRL CRAZY where she stopped the show nightly with her performance of "I Got Rhythm".

This launched a Broadway career that spanned more than 40 years starring in 13 more Broadway shows including ANYTHING GOES, RED, HOT AND BLUE, DUBARRY WAS A LADY, PANAMA HATTIE, SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, CALL ME MADAM, HAPPY HUNTING and GYPSY.

Her canon of signature songs feature some of America and Broadway's most beloved standards including "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Everything's Coming Up Roses", "You're the Top", "Some People", "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries", "You're Just in Love", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "Friendship" and "The Hostess with Mostes" and have been written by a seemingly who's who of songwriters including Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne and more.

Her final Broadway star turn was as the last Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman's smash HELLO, DOLLY! -- a role that was originally intended for her while it was being written. Miss Merman also starred in films, most notably THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS with Donald O'Connor, Marilyn Monroe, and Mitzi Gaynor; television shows and was a recording artist throughout her life.

She left behind a legacy of a full career, a trademark vocal style and a larger than life personality that lives on entertainment history.

Celebrate the life and work of this legendary artist today with one of her final appearances, singing one of her many signature songs, "Everything's Coming Up Roses."


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From This Author Alexa Criscitiello

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