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Blaine, Vivian (1921–1995)

Blaine, Vivian (1921–1995)

American actress, best known for her role in Guys and Dolls. Born Vivian Stapleton on November 21, 1921, in Newark, New Jersey; died on December 9, 1995, in New York, New York; daughter of Lionel P. and Wilhelmina (Tepley) Stapleton; attended South-side High School, Newark, New Jersey; American Academy of Dramatic Arts; married Manuel George Frank (divorced); married Milton Rackmil, in 1959 (divorced 1961); married Stuart Clark.


Through Different Eyes (1942); It Happened in Flatbush (1942); Girl Trouble (1942); He Hired the Boss (1943); Jitterbugs (1943); Greenwich Village (1944); Something for the Boys (1944); Nob Hill (1945); State Fair (1945); Doll Face (1945); If I'm Lucky (1946); Three Little Girls in Blue (1946); Skirts Ahoy! (1952); (cameo) Main Street to Broadway (1955); Guys and Dolls (1955); Public Pigeon No. 1 (1957); (cameo) Richard (1972); The Dark (1979); I'm Going to Be Famous (1981); Parasite (1982).

Vivian Blaine is best remembered for her portrayal of Miss Adelaide, the long-suffering chorus girl and perpetual fiancée of gambler Nathan Detroit in the Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls. She began performing on the vaudeville stage at the age of three. Her early career also included a nightclub act as well as tours in a variety of shows, including the musicals One Touch of Venus, Light Up the Sky, and Born Yesterday.

In 1942, Blaine made her film debut in Through Different Eyes, and she appeared in a number of musicals and light films during the '40s. Most notable was her portrayal of Emily Edwards in the first version of Rogers and Hammerstein's State Fair in 1945. Five years later, the plum role of Adelaide in the 1950 stage production of Guys and Dolls was absolutely golden for Blaine. In addition to introducing several plucky musical numbers like "A Bushel and a Peck" and "Take Back Your Mink," Blaine stopped the show each night with her rendition of "Adelaide's Lament," in which she complained of a variety of cold symptoms—a cough, la grippe, the post-nasal drip—brought on by her neverending betrothal. In addition to a long Broadway run, Blaine played in the successful London production, and appeared in the 1955 movie version with Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons . She later starred on Broadway in Say Darling (1958) and Enter Laughing (1963), and made numerous television appearances.

Blaine was married three times. Her first husband was a talent representative, Manuel George Frank. After their divorce, she married former president of Universal Pictures, Milton Rackmil. Her third husband was Stuart Clark. Vivian Blaine died on December 9, 1995, at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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