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Vivian Blaine

Vivian Blaine

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Also Known As: Vivienne S Stapleton Died: December 9, 1995
Born: November 21, 1921 Cause of Death: congestive heart failure
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This strawberry blonde musical performer put in years in variety acts and as a bland screen cutie before proving her talent on Broadway. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Blaine was trouping in vaudeville and nightclubs while still in grade school. From 1935 through 1941 Blaine worked as a band singer; spotted by a 20th Century-Fox agent, she was signed by the studio in 1942. Blaine made 11 films for Fox over the next four years, beginning with small roles in the drama "Through Different Eyes" and the comedy "Girl Trouble" (both 1942) With these exceptions her roles were in fluffy musicals and romantic comedies. Having threatened to quit unless her parts improved, Blaine played her first major role with the 1944 Carmen Miranda musical "Greenwich Village". Blaine teamed with Miranda again in "Something for the Boys" (1944) and "Doll Face" (1945), then went on to the pleasantly innocuous "Nob Hill" and "State Fair" (both 1945), "If I'm Lucky" and "Three Little Girls in Blue" (both 1946). Leaving films in frustration, she was touring in nightclub acts when her big chance arose. Cast as moll Miss Adelaide in the 1950 Damon Runyon-based musical "Guys and Dolls", Blaine took the role and ran with it. It was...

This strawberry blonde musical performer put in years in variety acts and as a bland screen cutie before proving her talent on Broadway. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Blaine was trouping in vaudeville and nightclubs while still in grade school. From 1935 through 1941 Blaine worked as a band singer; spotted by a 20th Century-Fox agent, she was signed by the studio in 1942.

Blaine made 11 films for Fox over the next four years, beginning with small roles in the drama "Through Different Eyes" and the comedy "Girl Trouble" (both 1942) With these exceptions her roles were in fluffy musicals and romantic comedies. Having threatened to quit unless her parts improved, Blaine played her first major role with the 1944 Carmen Miranda musical "Greenwich Village". Blaine teamed with Miranda again in "Something for the Boys" (1944) and "Doll Face" (1945), then went on to the pleasantly innocuous "Nob Hill" and "State Fair" (both 1945), "If I'm Lucky" and "Three Little Girls in Blue" (both 1946). Leaving films in frustration, she was touring in nightclub acts when her big chance arose.

Cast as moll Miss Adelaide in the 1950 Damon Runyon-based musical "Guys and Dolls", Blaine took the role and ran with it. It was re-written and enlarged for her, and her adenoidal doxy stole the show (the most famous of her songs was "Adelaide's Lament"). The toast of Broadway, Blaine re-created the role in the 1955 film version, but her movie career never really took off again. After two films ("Skirts Ahoy!", 1952, and "Public Pigeon No. 1", 1957), she returned to nightclubs and touring companies, returning to Broadway in "Say, Darling" in 1958 and "Enter Laughing" in 1963.

Blaine also made a number of television appearances, including the series "Those Two" (NBC, 1951-53) the special "Dream Girl" (NBC, 1955), and numerous guest spots on variety specials. In later years, she returned to films, but only supporting roles in low-budget efforts such as "Richard" (1972), "The Dark" (1979), "Parasite" (with a young Demi Moore, 1982) and "I'm Going to be Famous" (1982). Her roles in TV were somewhat larger: in the NBC pilot "Hereafter" (1975), as a neighbor on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (syndicated, 1975-77), and three 1979 TV movies, "Sooner or Later" (NBC), "Fast Friends" (NBC, co-starring with Carrie Snodgress), and "The Cracker Factory" (ABC, with Natalie Wood).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Parasite (1982) Miss Daley
3.
 I'm Going to Be Famous (1982) Laura Lowell
4.
 Fast Friends (1979) Sylvia
5.
 Dark, The (1979) Courtney Floyd
6.
 Cracker Factory (1979) Helen
7.
 Sooner Or Later (1979) Cosmetic Saleslady
8.
 Katie: Portrait Of Centerfold (1978) Marietta Cutler
9.
 Richard (1972) Washington doctor
10.
 Public Pigeon No. 1 (1957) Rita De Lacey
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began performing in vaudeville at age 3
1942:
Signed contract with 20th Century-Fox (through 1946)
1942:
Film debut "Through Different Eyes"
1947:
London debut in variety acts at Casino Theatre
1950:
Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"
1951:
TV debut, regular on the NBC variety show "Those Two"
1955:
Recreated Broadway role opposite Frank Sinatra in film version of "Guys and Dolls"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Southside High School: -
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

"That part was virtually written as the play was rehearsed. Vivian would suggest things she had thought out for Miss Adelaide to do. Before long Miss Adelaide became one of the strongest elements in the show, simply because an actress had put her mind to making something out of nothing." --husband/agent Manny Franks in 1952 on Blaine's involvement with "Guys and Dolls", quoted in NEW YORK TIMES, December 14, 1995

Blaine was voted the Best Dressed Woman Award by the Fashion Academy in 1952

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Manuel George Frank. Agent. Married on January 10, 1945; divorced.
husband:
Milton Rackmil. Executive. Served as president of both Universal Pictures and Decca Records; married in 1959; divorced in 1961.
husband:
Stuart Clark. Divorced.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lionel P Stapleton. Theatrical agent.
mother:
Wilhelmina Stapleton.

Contributions

Sven ( 2007-05-27 )

Source: Colin Briggs article in Classic Images;

Correction: Vivian Blaine was not divorced from her last husband Stuart Clark. He survived her at her death.
Additional information: Vivian Blaine also appeared on Broadway in Hatful of Rain with Steve McQueen, Company and briefly, Zorba. She appeared in Guys and Dolls in London including a command performance for Queen Elizabeth and she did a revival of Guys and Dolls at Lincoln Center Theater.

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