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Marni Nixon, the voice behind the screen, has died aged 86. She was the voice of Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Audrey Hepburn.


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Marni Nixon was the voice of Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/arts/music/marni-nixon-singer-soprano-dies-86.html

So sad to hear about this.  She came and spoke at our college way back in the day, and she was so charming and lovely.  And of course sang beautifully.  She will be missed.

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May she rest in peace. 

 

I don't think she ever got her due for her contributions. I remember reading about how for the first TCM Classic Film Festival, she came and they wouldn't let her in until she said "I sang for Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, and Natalie Wood, I am going in." 

 

She also sang and acted in the screen version of The Sound Of Music portraying Sister Sophia, where her voice was on display. 

 

 

 

Of course, I loved her styling in My Fair Lady the best: 

 

 

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Nixon had an onscreen role as Sister Sophia in "The Sound of Music" (1965). The movie's star, Dame Julie Andrews, was more than capable of providing her own vocals!

 

Accdg. to legend, the Sound of Music set was worried over whether Julie Andrews would bear any grudge toward Nixon over being "replaced" on My Fair Lady by Marni & Audrey--

But no, first meeting on the nun set, and Andrews had nothing but compliments for her.

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Marni Nixon is a name I only just learned about 3 years ago. I think she was truly an amazing person with such fantastic talent. From Audrey Hepburn to Natalie Wood to Deborah Kerr, she was able to transform her singing voice to accurately match the actress for whom she was dubbing. 

 

I watched a 50 minute BBC documentary about the "ghost singers" of movie musicals during Hollywood's "Hey Day" back in the 1930s through 1960s. I learned the names of some of the other "ghost singers," while seeing some familiar names and faces. Apparently, in West Side Story, Natalie Wood recorded all of Maria's songs, but was replaced with Marni Nixon ultimately, and another "ghost singer" Jimmy Bryant (sang for Tony AKA Richard Beymer) said that Natalie was unaware of her vocals being replaced until the premiere of the film. 

 

Miss Nixon was perhaps one of the more popular "ghost singers" during the Golden Age of Hollywood (or what I refer to as the "Golden Age") and was never able to receive the accolades and recognition she so aptly deserved, since the movie studio big-wigs threatened to blacklist the "ghost singers" if word got out about their film stars' lack of talent in the songbird realm. It wasn't until "Sound of Music" (1965) and "Mary Poppins" (1964) when Miss Nixon was allowed to portray her own character with her own voice. In "Mary Poppins," Miss Nixon played the trio of singing geese in the "Jolly Holiday" number. In "Sound of Music," Miss Nixon played Sister Sophia at the Salzburg Abbey, and joined in during the whole "Maria" sequence by singing, "When I'm with her I'm bemused, out of focus, and confused, and I never know exactly where I am..." 

Marni-Nixon.jpg

There she is in the middle. 

 

All in all, Marni Nixon the woman has not only passed away, but a very specific piece of history has passed away with her. I only wish I had discovered her earlier in life, but I am planning on listening to her beautiful voice on movie musical albums as a way to remember her immense talent. 

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May she rest in peace. 

 

I don't think she ever got her due for her contributions. I remember reading about how for the first TCM Classic Film Festival, she came and they wouldn't let her in until she said "I sang for Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, and Natalie Wood, I am going in." 

 

 

 

She got a lot of recognition over the past ten of fifteen years.  And her work is certainly well known by people familiar with film.  Of course, she'll never be as famous as Audrey Hepburn, who is an icon for any number of reasons aside from My Fair Lady.

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Here's a quote from Wikipedia -- I never knew about this part of her career.
 
Nixon's career in film started 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 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.

I do know that she was classically trained and appeared in opera. She was also a teacher of some significance and a devotee of art songs as well, I believe. I had the pleasure to meet her once, very briefly. She lived in New York in her later years.

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It occurred to me a way of accomplishing this is to add her name to the credits of the movies she sang for.

 

I assume you mean having the studio that owns the rights to a movie she sang in altering the existing credit.    

 

Yea,  that would be nice but there is no way a studio would do such a thing.   Instead if a film is restored they could add her name as part of the pre-credits related to the restoration (e.g. like where UCLA is noted for a film like Too Late For Tears prior to the actual film credits).

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Besides having a beautiful voice, her great skill was also being able to mimic the sound and accents of those for whom she was dubbing their songs so as to make the substitution seamless.

 

Most sorry to have heard of her death.

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Yes slayton, Marni Nixon had gotten a LOT of long overdue publicity in the past 15 years.

 

I just heard the rebroadcast of an interview on NPR with Nixon yesterday. Listening to her singing separate from any visual of the actor made me realize what a sweet beautiful singing voice she had.

 

I could detect WB cartoon charactors "Granny" and "Witch" voices when Marni spoke in her natural voice in the interview! Much like when hearing Mel Blanc speak in his natural voice, you could hear Sylvester without the sloppy slur.

 

The charactorizations Marni Nixon did with her voice was AMAZING.

In strong contrast are all the actors that "star" in animated movies these days....that simply speak lines in lieu of acting.

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Maureen O'Hara was lined up to dub Audrey in My Fair Lady, but no, it didn't work out and Marni got it.

I thought Maureen O'Hara was lined up to play Anna in The King and I before the head of FOX stated that he didn't want a "pirate queen" to play Anna. 

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Yet, D-Mervyn LeRoy allowed NATALIE to do her own singing for '62's "Gypsy" (***-out of four stars) (NOTE: Another version is scheduled by *Streisand for 2017) I had always wanted a version from Gypsy Rose Lee's-(l9l4-70) viewpoint, instead of her mamma)

 

But, for '65's underrated "Inside Daisy Clover" (strong ***) she had to have it dubbed again, this time by Robin Ward-(l94l-)-(last time I looked her up she was-(unfortunately) also living down here in FLORIDA)

A film that while shooting, not only NATASHA was pretty certain she'd actually take home *"The Golden Boy" for her role, but the majority of the cast & crew as well strongly believed so & "outrageously" she didn't even garner what would have been her 4th *Oscar shot!? & for my fellow *Oscar historians & stats keepers out there in "TCM-LAND" The official Best Actress contenders for 1965 were:

 

*Julie Christie in "Darling"-(won)

Julie Andrews, *"The Sound of Music"

Samantha Eggar, "The Collector"

Elizabeth Hartman, "A Patch of Blue"

& Simone Signoret in "Ship of Fools"

 

SO, OF COURSE YOU DECIDE IF & WHERE SHE DESERVED TO BE???

 

THANX

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Yet, D-Mervyn LeRoy allowed NATALIE to do her own singing for '62's "Gypsy" (***-out of four stars) (NOTE: Another version is scheduled by *Streisand for 2017) I had always wanted a version from Gypsy Rose Lee's-(l9l4-70) viewpoint, instead of her mamma)

 

But, for '65's underrated "Inside Daisy Clover" (strong ***) she had to have it dubbed again, this time by Robin Ward-(l94l-)-(last time I looked her up she was-(unfortunately) also living down here in FLORIDA)

A film that while shooting, not only NATASHA was pretty certain she'd actually take home *"The Golden Boy" for her role, but the majority of the cast & crew as well strongly believed so & "outrageously" she didn't even garner what would have been her 4th *Oscar shot!? & for my fellow *Oscar historians & stats keepers out there in "TCM-LAND" The official Best Actress contenders for 1965 were:

 

*Julie Christie in "Darling"-(won)

Julie Andrews, *"The Sound of Music"

Samantha Eggar, "The Collector"

Elizabeth Hartman, "A Patch of Blue"

& Simone Signoret in "Ship of Fools"

 

SO, OF COURSE YOU DECIDE IF & WHERE SHE DESERVED TO BE???

 

THANX

 

I love Natalie Wood. She was one of the main actresses of my youth. Regarding that list of nominees, I was quite young, but I was rooting for Simone Signoret, with Elizabeth Hartman as my second choice. Those were two great performances!

 

I agree that Inside Daisy Clover was underrated. I liked it so much I read the book!

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