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Also Known As: Mary Virginia Martin Died: November 3, 1990
Born: December 1, 1913 Cause of Death: liver cancer
Birth Place: Weatherford, Texas, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Legendary musical comedy star who, from her innocent, matter-of-fact mock striptease showstopper "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in the Cole Porter musical "Leave It to Me" (1938) to her embodiment of eternal youth as "Peter Pan," displayed the perky charm of a "cockeyed optimist" and the spirited determination and sweetness of Maria von Trapp. Although she had a brief film career in Hollywood (1938-43), most of Mary Martin's 50-year career was spent on Broadway where she starred in the musicals "One Touch of Venus," "Lute Song," "South Pacific," "Peter Pan," "The Sound of Music," "Jennie" and "I Do, I Do." She lost the film roles of her musicals to others and only her televised performance in "Peter Pan" (broadcast live in 1955 and 1956, and taped in 1960) has been preserved on video to capture her magical stage magnetism.

Legendary musical comedy star who, from her innocent, matter-of-fact mock striptease showstopper "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in the Cole Porter musical "Leave It to Me" (1938) to her embodiment of eternal youth as "Peter Pan," displayed the perky charm of a "cockeyed optimist" and the spirited determination and sweetness of Maria von Trapp.

Although she had a brief film career in Hollywood (1938-43), most of Mary Martin's 50-year career was spent on Broadway where she starred in the musicals "One Touch of Venus," "Lute Song," "South Pacific," "Peter Pan," "The Sound of Music," "Jennie" and "I Do, I Do." She lost the film roles of her musicals to others and only her televised performance in "Peter Pan" (broadcast live in 1955 and 1956, and taped in 1960) has been preserved on video to capture her magical stage magnetism.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Valentine (1979) Gracie Schwartz
2.
 Action Stations (1959)
3.
 Angel Face (1953) Patient
4.
 Main Street to Broadway (1953) Herself
5.
 Night and Day (1946) Herself
6.
 Star Spangled Rhythm (1943) Herself, "Hit the Road to Dreamland" number
7.
 True to Life (1943) Bonnie Porter
8.
 Happy Go Lucky (1943) Marjory Stuart
9.
 New York Town (1941) Alexandra Curtis
10.
 Birth of the Blues (1941) Betty Lou Cobb
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Appeared in local amateur theatre productions (with friend Bessie Mae Sue Ella Yaeger) from age five
1921:
Founded the Mary Hagman School of Dance, Weatherford, TX (date approximate)
:
Traveled between Texas (where she sang on radio) to California (where she worked as nightclub singer-dancer)
1938:
Discovered by producer Lawrence Schwab at Trocadero nightclub's Sunday night talent show in Los Angeles (date approximate)
1938:
Broadway debut, "Leave It to Me"
1938:
Won contract with Paramount (date approximate)
1939:
Film debut, "The Great Victor Herbert"
1943:
Returned to the stage in "Dancing in the Streets" which closed in Boston before reaching Broadway
1943:
First starring role on Broadway, "One Touch of Venus" (directed by Elia Kazan) in a role originally tailored for Marlene Dietrich
1946:
Returned to Hollywood to reprise her signature song "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in the whitewashed Cole Porter biopic, "Night and Day"
1946:
London stage debut in Noel Coward's "Pacific 1860"
:
Starred as Annie Oakley (the role originated on Broadway by Ethel Merman) in the national road tour of the Irving Berlin musical "Annie Get Your Gun"
1949:
Co-starred opposite Ezio Pinza in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific"
1953:
Starred opposite Ethel Merman in the legendary "Ford Motor Company's 50th Anniversary" TV special
:
Starred on Broadway in the musical, "Peter Pan"
:
Starred on Broadway in the musical, "The Sound of Music"
1963:
Starred in first Broadway musical flop, "Jennie"
1965:
Played Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!" In the US national tour and in Vietman and Tokyo; also starred in the London production (date approximate)
:
Hosted own TV series "Over Easy"
1983:
Was severly injured in San Francisco when a drunken driver crashed his car into the taxi Martin was riding in; the crash took the life of her aide Ben Washer and injured Janet Gaynor and her husband Paul Gregory
:
Performed at benefits for the San Francisco General whose Trauma Center was renamed in her honor
1986:
Made final stage appearance in a national tour of James Kirkwood's bitchy comedy, "Legends" opposite Carol Channing
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ward Belmont finishing school: Nashville , Tennessee -

Notes

"While Ethel Merman was an entire brass section and Carol Channing was a parade, Miss Martin remained natural and exactingly true to life--and it was poetry." --Mel Gussow, ("New York Times" obituary, November 5, 1990.

"As Ensign Nellie Forbush, the 'cockeyed optimist' heroine of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'South Pacific', as the airborne boy who never grows up in 'Peter Pan' and as the Austrian governess who marries her boss and then saves their family from the Nazis in 'The Sound of Music', Martin was an effervescent, girlishly charming actress whose homespun personality and lovely lyric soprano voice personified theatrical star qualtiy and captivated Broadway audiences." --"Variety" obituary, November 12, 1990.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Benjamin Jack Hagman. Accountant, lawyer. Married November 3, 1929; father of Larry Hagman.
husband:
Richard Halliday. Paramount story editor; manager; producer. Married May 5, 1940; died 1973.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Preston Martin. Lawyer.
mother:
Juanita Martin. Violin teacher.
son:
Larry Hagman. Actor.
daughter:
Mary Heller DeMeritt. Actor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Needlepoint"
"My Heart Belongs"

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