VIDEO: On This Day, February 15- Remembering Ethel Merman
On this day we celebrate the life and legacy of the inimitable Ethel Merman, who passed away on this day in 1984.
Ethel Merman was a Broadway institution known as the "undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage." After being discovered by Vinton Freedley as a singer at Brooklyn's Paramount movie theatre, she was signed to star in the Gershwin's new Broadway hit GIRL CRAZY where she stopped the show nightly with her performance of "I Got Rhythm".
This launched a Broadway career that spanned more than 40 years starring in 13 more Broadway shows including ANYTHING GOES, RED, HOT AND BLUE, DUBARRY WAS A LADY, PANAMA HATTIE, SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, CALL ME MADAM, HAPPY HUNTING and GYPSY. Her canon of signature songs feature some of America and Broadway's most beloved standards including "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Everything's Coming Up Roses", "You're the Top", "Some People", "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries", "You're Just in Love", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "Friendship" and "The Hostess with Mostes" and have been written by a seemingly who's who of songwriters including Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne and more.
Her final Broadway star turn was as the last Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman's smash HELLO, DOLLY! -- a role that was originally intended for her while it was being written. Miss Merman also starred in films, most notably THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS with Donald O'Connor, Marilyn Monroe, and Mitzi Gaynor; television shows and was a recording artist throughout her life.
Passing away in 1984 at the age of 76, she left behind a legacy of a full career, a trademark vocal style and a larger than life personality that would live on entertainment history.