Image of Marni Nixon

Marni Nixon

"Loverly" soprano Marni Nixon has ensured herself a proper place in film history although most moviegoers would not recognize her if they passed her on the street. But if you heard her, that might be a horse of a different color. Marni is one of those unsung heroes (or should I say "much sung" heroes) whose incredible talents were given short shrift at the time. For those who think film superstars such as Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Audrey Hepburn possessed not only powerhouse dramatic talents but amazing singing voices as well...think again. Kerr's Anna in The King and I (1956), Natalie's Maria in West Side Story (1961), and Audrey's Eliza in My Fair Lady (1964) were all dubbed by the amazing Marni Nixon, and nowhere in the credits will you find that fact. Born Marni McEathron in Altadena, California, she was a former child actress and soloist with the Roger Wagner Chorale in the beginning. Trained in opera, yet possessing a versatile voice for pop music and easy standards as well, she not only sang for Arnold Schönberg and Igor Stravinsky but also recorded light songs. Marni made her Broadway musical debut in 1954 in a show that lasted two months but nothing came from it. In 1955, the singer contracted to dub Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956) was killed in a car accident in Europe and a replacement was needed. Marni was hired...and the rest is history. Much impressed, the studios brought her in to "ghost" Ms. Kerr's voice once again in the classic tearjerker An Affair to Remember (1957). From there she went on to make Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn sound incredibly good with such classic songs as "Tonight" and "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." She finally appeared on screen in a musical in The Sound of Music (1965) starring Julie Andrews, who physically resembles Marni. The role is a small one, however, and she is only given a couple of solo lines in "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" as a singing nun. Marni's vocal career in films dissolved by the mid 1960s, but she continued on with concerts and in symphony halls, while billing herself as "The Voice of Hollywood" in one-woman cabaret shows. Throughout the years, she has played on the legit stage, including the lead roles in "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music," and in her matronly years has been seen as Fraulein Schneider in "Cabaret," and in the musicals "Follies" and "70 Girls 70." Her last filmed singing voice was as the grandmother in the animated feature Mulan (1998) in the 1990s. Married three times, twice to musicians; one of her husbands, Ernest Gold, by whom she had three children, was a film composer and is best known for his Academy Award-winning epic Exodus (1960). Marni Nixon died July 24, 2016 (age 86), in New York City, New York, USA

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Feb 22, 1930 In Altadena, California, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Alice in Wonderland 1951-07-28
Latest Project:
Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 1999-09-20
Known For
Poster of Taking My Turn
Poster of The Sound of Music
Poster of Mary Poppins
Poster of Alice in Wonderland
Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Edna Dumas 1999-09-20
Movie Mulan Grandmother Fa (singing voice) 1998-06-18
Movie I Think I Do Aunt Alice 1997-06-20
Movie More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Self 1995-12-30
Movie Taking My Turn Edna 1985-05-05
Movie Jack and the Beanstalk Princess Serena (singing voice) 1967-02-27
Movie The Sound of Music Sister Sophia 1965-03-29
Series The Hollywood Palace Unknown 1964-01-04
Movie My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle (singing voice) (uncredited) 1964-10-21
Movie Mary Poppins Geese (voice) (uncredited) 1964-08-27
Series The Danny Kaye Show Self 1963-09-25
Movie West Side Story Maria (singing voice) 1961-12-13
Movie The King and I Anna Leonowens (singing voice) 1956-06-29
Series The Oscars Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie Alice in Wonderland Singing Flowers (voice) (uncredited) 1951-07-28