Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Women We Love: Ethel Merman

Object of our affection: Ethel Merman, actress/singer.

- She was the bold and brassy belter, known as "The Grande Dame of the Broadway stage", who originated such classic musical theater characters as Reno Sweeney (Anything Goes), Annie Oakley (Annie Get Your Gun) and Momma Rose (Gypsy).

- Hollywood never knew quite what to do with her though, and most of her legendary stage roles were given to other actresses for the film versions. However, she did recreate her Tony Award-winning performance in Call Me Madam for the big screen (and won the Golden Globe for it) and starred in such other movie musicals as Kid Millions, Alexander's Ragtime Band and There's No Business Like Show Business.

- Other memorable screen appearances include comedic roles in the all-star in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (a New Year's Eve favorite in my childhood) and Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, plus voicing the wicked witch Mombi in the animated Journey Back to Oz and a scene-stealing cameo in Airplane!

- On television, she was Lola Lasagne on Batman, voiced Lilly Loraine in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July and played Gopher's mother on The Love Boat.

- And of course, who could forget The Ethel Merman Disco Album.

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