Monday, February 04, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mary Martin

Artist:Mary Martin
Song:A Wonderful Guy
Album:Broadway To Hollywood-And Back

Along with Ethel Merman, Mary Martin was one of the leading stage performers of the 40s and 50s. Mary was probably more versatile than Ethel. Mary's two most famous performances were in South Pacific and Peter Pan. She was born Dec. 1, 1913 in Weatherford, TX. As a child, she won talent contests by imitating Bing Crosby. That shows a good ear. She also had a photographic memory. Mary was sent to finishing school in Nashville and married her boyfriend Ben Hagman. She had a son Larry Hagman who everyone knows as JR Ewing in Dallas. She moved to Hollywood and went to plenty of auditions with little success. She got her big break when Oscar Hammerstein II saw her at an audition and brought her to the attention of Broadway producer Lawrence Schwab. She sang My Heart Belongs To Daddy in the show Leave It To Me and recorded for Brunswick and Decca. She returned to Hollywood and signed with Paramount Pictures in 1939. She appeared in films but never became a star. So when Rodgers & Hammerstein were working on Oklahoma, she gave up on films and moved back to New York. Mary appeared in plenty of hit shows. But I think most would agree that the 1949 show South Pacific was her biggest hit. Her other big hit show was Peter Pan which she produced herself. There are cast albums available but Jasmine Records has released a comprehensive overview of Mary Martin's career on 2CDs. Her final Broadway show was I Do I Do in 1966. After that she did TV guest shots and various other appearances. She even hosted a talk show for seniors on PBS in the 80s. Mary Martin died on Nov. 3, 1990 at age 76. I think a lot of folks may know a little about her because of her son. But other than that, Mary Martin was a legendary performer who is largely forgotten. Here's Mary Martin performing A Wonderful Guy in the 1952 London production of South Pacific.

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