Monday, August 06, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rex Harrison

Artist:Rex Harrison
Song:I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Album:My Fair Lady: Original Broadway Cast

With all the roles he played in his long career, it's ironic that British actor Rex Harrison is best known as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady especially since he couldn't sing. But he won a Tony and an Oscar for that role. He was born Mar. 5, 1908 in Huyton, Lancashire, England. He partially lost the sight in his left eye after a bout of the measles. He first appeared on stage in 1924 and on film in 1930 usually in supporting roles. He also served in the Royal Air Force during WWII as a Flight Lieutenant. Harrison would go back and forth between London and New York appearing in various plays. He won his first Tony for the 1948 play Anne Of A Thousand Days. My Fair Lady was written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Leowe based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. The role of Henry Higgins was first offered to Noel Coward. He turned it down but recommended Harrison. After some reluctance because Harrison had never sung on stage before, he accepted the role. Julie Andrews was cast as Eliza Doolittle after Mary Martin declined. The show was a huge hit and ran for several years on Broadway. It also had a successful run in London and of course the 1964 film. Harrison won a Tony and an Oscar. He sings I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face right at the end of the show when Eliza leaves him. Guess what happens in the end. The Original Broadway Cast recording topped the charts for 15 weeks and is available as a budget CD. My Fair Lady made Harrison a big star. He continued to appear on the stage but like his buddy Richard Burton, sometimes he did films just for the money. And that's why he did the 1967 film Doctor Doolittle. Harrison's demands and bad behaviour on set resulted in a disaster other than Talk To The Animals winning an Oscar for Best Song. Harrison quit doing films in 1982 but continued to appear on stage. He was nominated for a Tony for Heartbreak House in 1984. Harrison was married six times. His son Noel Harrison was a successful singer and actor in the late 60s. While appearing on Broadway in The Circle, Rex Harrison died of pancreatic cancer on June 2, 1990 at age 82. Here's Rex Harrison performing I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face in the 1964 film My Fair Lady. Spoiler warning: I have included the end of the film.

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