Called the loudest woman in the history of musical theater
, Tony award-winning Ethel Merman became known for her wit, charm
, strength and personality on stage.
She was born in Astoria, Queens on January 16, 1909. She never had voice lessons, and while working in New York as a secretary during the day and a nightclub singer in the evenings, Merman was discovered by a Broadway producer in 1930. Her first role was in Girl Crazy, and she won the audience over with her performance of "I Got Rhythm." She would continue to bring down the house with roles in Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes, and Gypsy. Merman brought a number of the stage roles to the silver screen, but was passed over for the celluloid version of Gypsy for Rosalind Russell. Many felt it was a miscast and that she was not chosen because she didn't "photograph well enough."
Over the course of her career, Merman is said to have altered the musical heroine from coy and girly to a tough, bold dame. Ethel Merman died on February 15, 1984 of natural causes.
Some of her films include:
Follow The Leader
Call Me Madam
There’s No Business Like Show Business
It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World