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Marni Nixon

Marni Nixon

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the unsung heroes of Hollywood's musical heyday, Marni Nixon dubbed the singing voices of Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn and Deborah Kerr before taking some of the limelight for herself as a Broadway and concert performer. Born in Altadena, CA in 1930, Nixon joined Karl Moldrem's Hollywood Baby Orchestra as a violinist aged just four, which led to uncredited 'freckle face brat' roles in dozens of movies. But after winning a vocal competition at the LA County Fair, Nixon shifted her focus towards singing, going on to study under Vera Schwarz, Carl Ebert and Sarah Caldwell, make her Hollywood Bowl debut in Leopold Stokowski's "Carmina Burana" and solo in the Mozart Requiem with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. While working as a messenger at MGM, Nixon was asked to dub the singing voice of Margaret O'Brien in "The Secret Garden" (1949), a small role which would ultimately shape and define her career. Nixon subsequently provided the high notes for Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), sang for Jeanne Crain in "Cheaper by the Dozen" (1950) and Ida Lupino in "Jennifer" (1953), and worked with Deborah Kerr on both "The King and I" (1956) and "An Affair...

One of the unsung heroes of Hollywood's musical heyday, Marni Nixon dubbed the singing voices of Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn and Deborah Kerr before taking some of the limelight for herself as a Broadway and concert performer. Born in Altadena, CA in 1930, Nixon joined Karl Moldrem's Hollywood Baby Orchestra as a violinist aged just four, which led to uncredited 'freckle face brat' roles in dozens of movies. But after winning a vocal competition at the LA County Fair, Nixon shifted her focus towards singing, going on to study under Vera Schwarz, Carl Ebert and Sarah Caldwell, make her Hollywood Bowl debut in Leopold Stokowski's "Carmina Burana" and solo in the Mozart Requiem with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. While working as a messenger at MGM, Nixon was asked to dub the singing voice of Margaret O'Brien in "The Secret Garden" (1949), a small role which would ultimately shape and define her career. Nixon subsequently provided the high notes for Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), sang for Jeanne Crain in "Cheaper by the Dozen" (1950) and Ida Lupino in "Jennifer" (1953), and worked with Deborah Kerr on both "The King and I" (1956) and "An Affair to Remember" (1957). After standing in for Sophia Loren and Janet Leigh, Nixon worked on two Best Picture Oscar winners, firstly as the voice of Natalie Wood's Maria Nunez in "West Side Story" (1961) and secondly as the voice of Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" (1964), a role which she had previously taken for herself in a New York City Center revival. Nixon's behind-the-scenes work was largely an open secret in Hollywood, leading Time magazine to label her 'the ghostess with the moistest.' But she eventually began to pursue a career as a performer in her own right, appearing in front of the camera as Sister Sophia in "The Sound of Music" (1965), taking to the stage as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, and moving into the opera world with roles in the likes of "The Marriage of Figaro" and "La traviata." Nixon also began a fruitful recording career in the 1970s which would result in two Grammy nominations, teach at Santa Clarita's California Institute of Arts and Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West, and front a popular children's TV show, "Boomerang" (KOMO-TV, 1975-1981) for which she would pick up four Emmy Awards. Nixon remained just as busy throughout the '80s and '90s, originating the roles of Mrs Wilson in "Ballymore" and Sadie McKibben in "Opal," playing Aunt Alice in LGBT romantic comedy "I Think I Do" (1997) and providing the singing voice of Grandmother Fa in Disney animation "Mulan" (1998). In the '00s, Nixon took roles in Broadway revivals of "Follies" and "Nine," published an autobiography and played Mrs. Higgins in a North American tour of "My Fair Lady." Having survived breast cancer in 1985 and 2000, Nixon sadly succumbed to the disease in 2016 aged 86.

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CAST: (feature film)

1.
 MULAN (1998) Singing Voice Of Grandmother Fa
2.
 I Think I Do (1997) Aunt Alice
4.
 Jack and the Beanstalk (1967) Princess Serena
5.
 The Sound of Music (1965) Sister Sophia
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