Ethel Agnes Zimmermann (January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984)

From Wikipedia:

“Ethel Merman (born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann) was an American actress, artist, and singer. Known primarily for her distinctive, powerful voice and leading roles in musical theatre, she has been called “the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage”. Over her distinguished career in theater she became known for her iconic performances in shows such as Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy, and Hello, Dolly!.

She is also known for her film roles in Anything Goes (1936), Call Me Madam (1953), There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World(1963). Among many accolades, she received the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Call Me Madam, a Grammy Award for Gypsy and Drama Desk Award for Hello, Dolly!.

Among the many standards introduced by Merman in Broadway musicals are “I Got Rhythm” (from Girl Crazy); “Everything’s Coming Up Roses“, “Some People”, and “Rose’s Turn” (from Gypsy—Merman starred as Rose in the original 1959 Broadway production); and the Cole Porter songs “It’s De-Lovely” (from Red, Hot and Blue), “Friendship” (from Du Barry Was a Lady), and “I Get a Kick Out of You“, “You’re the Top“, and “Anything Goes” (from Anything Goes). The Irving Berlin song “There’s No Business Like Show Business“, written for the musical Annie Get Your Gun, became Merman’s signature song.

Anything Goes proved to be the first of five Cole Porter musicals in which Merman starred. In addition to the title song, the score included “I Get a Kick Out of You“, “You’re the Top“, and “Blow Gabriel Blow”. It opened on November 21, 1934, at the Alvin Theatre, and the New York Post called Merman “vivacious and ingratiating in her comedy moments, and the embodiment of poise and technical adroitness” when singing “as only she knows how to do.” Although Merman always had remained with a show until the end of its run, she left Anything Goes after eight months to appear with Eddie Cantor in the film Strike Me Pink. She was replaced by Benay Venuta, with whom she enjoyed a long but frequently tempestuous friendship.

Merman initially was overlooked for the film version of Anything Goes (1936). Bing Crosby insisted his wife Dixie Lee be cast as Reno Sweeney opposite his Billy Crocker, but when she unexpectedly dropped out of the project, Merman was cast in the role she had originated on stage. From the beginning, it was clear to Merman the film would not be the enjoyable experience she had hoped it would be. The focus was shifted to Crosby, leaving her very much in a supporting role. Many of Porter’s ribald lyrics were altered to conform to the guidelines of the Motion Picture Production Code…”

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