Monday, November 26, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Miyoshi Umeki

Artist:Miyoshi Umeki
Song:A Hundred Million Miracles
Album:Flower Drum Song: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Japanese born actress and singer Miyoshi Umeki won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the 1957 film Sayonara. She also starred in the Broadway and film productions of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song. And she starred in the 60s sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father. What many fans may not know is she was a singer long before she got into acting. She was born May 8, 1929 in Otaru, Japan which is on Hokkaido island. She was the youngest of nine children. Her father owned an iron factory. After WWII, she started singing in nightclubs as Nancy Umeki. Apparently Billy Eckstine was one of her favourite singers. She signed with RCA Victor Japan in 1950 and recorded American pop music until she moved to the US in 1955. She sang in Japanese and English. She was a regular on Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts for a year and signed with Mercury Records. She recorded the 1956 album Miyoshi Umeki Sings For Arthur Godfrey. Director Joshua Logan spotted her when he was casting for the 1957 film Sayonara. Miyoshi was the first Asian to win an Oscar for acting. Obviously because of her singing ability, she was a natural to play Mei-Li in Flower Drum Song. It played on Broadway for two years and she also starred in the 1961 film version. A Hundred Million Miracles is her big number and unlike some of the other actresses in the film, she did her own singing. The Original Broadway Cast and film soundtrack are both available. But I am recommending the soundtrack because my video clip is from the film. In the 60s, Miyoshi did a lot of guest shots on TV until she was cast as Mrs. Livingston in the popular sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father. After the show's three year run, Miyoshi retired from acting and ran a film editing equipment rental business with her husband Randall Hood. He died in 1976. Later on she moved to Missouri to be close to her son's family. Miyoshi Umeki died of cancer Aug. 28, 2007 at age 78. Here's Miyoshi Umeki performing A Hundred Million Miracles in the 1961 film Flower Drum Song.

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