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Marni Nixon

From Academic Kids

Marni Nixon (born 22 February 1930) is a singer whose renown for dubbing the singing voices of featured actresses in movies earned her the sobriquet "The Ghostess with the Mostess".

She was born Marni McEathron in Altadena, California and began singing at a young age in choruses.

Her dubbing career began when she dubbed the singing voice of Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden. She performed the voices of angels heard by Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc and provided Marilyn Monroe with a few top notes on her recording of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

She sang for Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember and in The King and I, but, on some tracks of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Kerr's and Nixon's voices were skillfully intertwined.

She did all the singing of Maria, Natalie Wood, in the film version of West Side Story and also got to sing some parts of the score of Anita, Rita Moreno, sharing the load with co-dubber Betty Wand and Moreno herself. In parts of the song "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love", she may effectively be doing a duet with herself.

She gained some notoriety when she sang for Audrey Hepburn in the film of My Fair Lady as news-eager journalists ripped apart the customary veil of secrecy. This fact is said to be the cause of Hepburn failing even to get nominated for an Academy Award for the demanding role.

Nixon finally appeared on the screen, singing for herself in the film of The Sound of Music as part of the chorus of nuns. Julie Andrews lost the role of Eliza Doolittle to Hepburn, but won the Oscar for Mary Poppins and started her acceptance speech saying: "Hello! I'm Marni Nixon". When they first met on the set of The Sound of Music, she greeted Nixon with a hearty handshake and the line: "I really love your work!" In fact, they had already been co-workers on a song, as Nixon voiced one of the trio of geese in the cartoon sequence of Mary Poppins.

When Hollywood musicals gave her less work, she started to perform on stage, as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she hosted a children's television show in Seattle on KOMO channel 4 called Boomerang (http://www.seattlehistory.org/av_files/boomerang.mp3). In the 1990s, she lent her voice to the Disney animated feature Mulan and replaced Joan Roberts as Heidi Schiller in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.

In her own voice, she has also recorded songs of Jerome Kern and Arnold Schönberg.

One of her three husbands, Ernest Gold, composed the theme song to the movie Exodus and to television's Mad About You. They had three children together, one of whom is the singer and songwriter Andrew Gold ("Lonely Boy" and "Thank You For Being a Friend").

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