Nixon, Marni 1930–

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NIXON, Marni 1930–


Original name, Margaret McEathron; born February 22, 1930, in Altadena, CA; daughter of Charles (an industrial manager) and Margaret (maiden name, Wittke) McEathron; married Ernest Gold (a musician and composer), May 22, 1950 (divorced, 1969); married Lajos Frederick Fenster, July 23, 1971 (divorced, July, 1975); married Albert David Block (a jazz musician), April 11, 1983; children: (first marriage) Andrew Maurice (a musician, composer, and producer), Martha Alice (a psychologist), Melani Christine (a singer and songwriter). Education: Attended Los Angeles City College, University of Southern California, Stanford University, and Berkshire Music Center.


Actress, singer, voice performer, and recording artist. Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA, actress, 1940–45; Roger Wagner Chorale, soloist, 1947–53; appeared with New England Opera Company, Los Angeles Opera Company, Ford Foundation Television Opera, San Francisco Spring Opera, Seattle Opera, and numerous other companies in the United States and elsewhere; performed on stage in symphony concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other ensembles; performer in cabarets and nightclubs; toured in the United States, Canada, England, Israel, and Ireland, including appearances with Liberace and Victor Borge. Singing voice featured in advertisements. California Institute of the Arts, music instructor, 1969–71, director of vocal faculty, 1970–72; Cornish Institute for the Arts, artist in residence, 1975–78, director of Northwest Goldovsky Opera Workshop, 1977; Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, CA, music teacher, beginning 1980, and director of apprentice division; teacher of master classes. Maltz Jupiter Theatre, founding member of artistic advisory board; judge of vocal competitions, including auditions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City. Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, worked as a messenger in the 1940s.


National Association of Singing Teachers.

Awards, Honors:

Two awards from Action for Children's Television, 1977; Chicago International Film Festival Award, 1977; four local Emmy awards, best actress, for Boomerang; Grammy Award nominations, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1977, for Cabaret Songs and Early Songs by Arnold Schoenberg, and 1988, for Emily Dickinson Songs by Aaron Copland; two gold record certifications, Recording Industry Association of America, for soundtrack recordings of Mary Poppins and Mulan; Drama Desk Award nomination; Los Angeles Ovation Award nomination, best featured actress—musical, 2000, for James Joyce's The Dead.


Film Appearances:

Sister Sophia, The Sound of Music (musical), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1965.

Aunt Alice, I Think I Do, Strand Releasing, 1998.

Performer of songs that have appeared in films.

Film Singer:

Singing voice of an angel, Joan of Arc, RKO Radio Pictures, 1948.

Singing voice of Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1949.

Singer, Dementia (also known as Daughter of Horror), Exploitation Pictures, 1955.

Singing voice of Anna, The King and I (musical; also known as Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1956.

Singing voice of Terry McKay, An Affair to Remember, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1957.

Singing voice of Maria, West Side Story (musical), United Artists, 1961.

Singing voice of Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee, the title character), Gypsy (musical), Warner Bros., 1962.

Singing voice of Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady (musical), Warner Bros., 1964.

Singing voice of Grandmother Fa, Mulan (animated musical), Buena Vista, 1998.

Film Work; Other:

(Uncredited) Voice double for character of Lorelei Lee (singer of high notes), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (also known as Howard Hawks' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1953.

Stage Appearances:

Singer and understudy for Hattie Hopkins, The Girl in Pink Tights (musical), Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City, 1954.

Soprano, Improvisation sur Mallarme I, New York Philharmonic, New York City, 1960.

Edna, Taking My Turn (musical), Entermedia Theatre, New York City, 1983–84.

Sadie McKibben, Opal (musical), Lamb's Theatre, New York City, 1992.

Mrs. Wilson, "Losers," Ballymore (opera), Skylight Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, 1999.

Aunt Kate Morkan, James Joyce's The Dead (musical), Playwrights' Horizons, Belasco Theatre, New York City, 1999–2000, then Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 2000.

Heidi Schiller, Follies (musical), Roundabout Theatre Company, Belasco Theatre, 2001.

Ernestine von Liebedich (an opera singer), Little Mary Sunshine (staged reading of musical), New York City, 2002.

70, Girls, 70 (concert), El Portal Theatre, North Hollywood, CA, 2002.

Guido's mother, Nine (musical), Roundabout Theatre Company, Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York City, 2003.

Gimme a Break III (benefit concert), The Culture Project, New York City, 2003.

GOTTA DANCE! A Dance Tribute to Hollywood (gala performance), City Center, New York City, 2003.

Requiem for William (series of short plays followed by songs), Transport Group, Connelly Theatre, New York City, 2003.

Tonight We Sing (benefit concert), Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, New York City, 2003.

Menage, Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, 2004.

Appeared as wife, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (opera), Lincoln Center Theater, New York City; and as nurse in Romeo and Juliet; appeared in productions of the musicals The King and I and The Sound of Music; made opera debut in a production of Elektra; appeared as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, CA; performer in the musical theatre pieces Miss Donnithorne's Maggot and Pierrot Lunaire; appeared in benefit concerts and staged readings.

Major Tours:

Fraulein Schneider, Cabaret (musical), U.S. cities, 1997–98.

Marni Nixon: The Voice of Hollywood (solo show), U.S. cities, 2003.

Television Appearances; Series:

Member of ensemble, The Ford Show, NBC, beginning 1956.

Host, Boomerang, KOMO (Seattle, WA), late 1970s and early 1980s.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Herself, The 100 Greatest Musicals, Channel 4, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Herself, Young People's Concerts: Folk Music in the Concert Hall (concert), 1961.

Edna, "Taking My Turn" (musical), Great Performances, PBS, 1984.

Herself, Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies, Arts and Entertainment, 1996.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 41st Annual Academy Awards, 1969.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, The Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1966.

Herself, "The Not–So–Grand Opera," The Mothers–in–Law, NBC, 1969.

Edna Dunas, "Redemption," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (also known as Law & Order: SVU and Special Victims Unit), NBC, 2001.

Herself, "Soundtrack," Walk On By: The Story of Popular Song (also known as Popular Song: Soundtrack of the Century), Bravo, 2001.

Appeared in episodes of I've Got a Secret, CBS and syndicated; and To Tell the Truth, CBS, syndicated, and NBC.

Television Work; Specials:

Singing voice of Princess Serena, Jack and the Beanstalk (live action and animated), NBC, 1967.

Radio Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, Prairie Home Companion, National Public Radio, 2002.



The Sound of Music (soundtrack), RCA, 1965.

Cabaret Songs and Early Songs by Arnold Schoenberg, RCA, 1977.

Gershwin Songs, Reference Recordings, 1985, released as Marni Nixon Sings Gershwin, 1993.

Emily Dickinson Songs by Aaron Copland, 1988.

Marni Nixon Sings Classic Kern, 1988.

West Side Story (soundtrack), Sony, 1992.

Hovhaness: Lady of Light/Avak the Healer, Crystal Records, 1993.

My Fair Lady (soundtrack), Sony, 1994.

Biggs: Songs of Laughter, Love and Tears, Crystal Records, 1995.

Opal, Honky–Tonk Highway and Other Theatre Music by Robert Lindsey Nassif, 1995.

Monteverdi: Vespers/Bach: Cantatas, Sony, 1996.

Rodgers & Hammerstein Favorites, Pickwick, 1997.

Copland: An Outdoor Overture/Appalachian Spring Suite/Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson, Reference Recordings, 1998.

Mulan (soundtrack), Disney, 1998.

Hollywood Musicals, Friedman Fairfax, 1999.

Opal: The Complete Score (soundtrack), 2000.

Taking My Turn (original Broadway cast), DRG, 2000.

The King and I (soundtrack), 2001.

Spring Changes, 2001.

Mary Poppins (special edition of soundtrack with extra tracks), Disney, 2004.

West Side Story (studio cast recording), Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music Soundtrax, 2004.

Other albums include the soundtrack of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and the original soundtrack of Mary Poppins; and recordings of works by numerous composers, including Debussy, Ives, Goehr, Schumann, Anton Webern, Igor Stravinsky, and Villa–Lobos. Nixon's performance in Improvisation sur Mallarme I with the New York Philharmonic appears in disc nine of the collection Bernstein Live.


The Making of "My Fair Lady," King World Productions, 1994.

The Sound of Music: From Fact to Phenomenon, Twentieth Century–Fox Home Entertainment/Fox Video, 1994.



Opera News, October, 2004, pp. 30–33.


Playbill Online,, January 4, 2000.

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Nixon, Marni 1930–

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