Obituary: Marni Nixon, unseen voice of Hollywood’s golden age of musicals, 86

Posted on: July 26, 2016

“Marni Nixon, the American cinema’s most unsung singer, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 86,” writes Margalit Fox in Monday’s (7/25) New York Times. “The cause was breast cancer.… Classically trained, Ms. Nixon was throughout the 1950s and ‘60s the unseen—and usually uncredited—singing voice of the stars in a spate of celebrated Hollywood films. She dubbed Deborah Kerr in ‘The King and I,’ Natalie Wood in ‘West Side Story’ and Audrey Hepburn in ‘My Fair Lady,’ among many others.… Before her Hollywood days and long afterward, Ms. Nixon was an acclaimed concert singer, a specialist in contemporary music who appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic; a recitalist at Carnegie, Alice Tully and Town Halls in New York; and a featured singer on one of Leonard Bernstein’s televised young people’s concerts. Her concerts and her many recordings—including works by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Webern, Ives, Copland, Gershwin and Kern—drew wide critical praise. Yet as late as 1990, decades after Ms. Nixon had made good on her vow to perform only as herself, she remained, in the words of The Los Angeles Times, ‘the best known of the ghost singers.’ ” Nixon is survived by two daughters, three sisters, and six grandchildren.

Posted July 26, 2016