MITZI GAYNOR Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Mitzi Gaynor                                                                   
Born: 4 September 1931 Chicago, Illinois                                             
Mitzi Gaynor (born September 4, 1931, Chicago, Illinois) is an American actress,     
singer, and dancer.                                                                 
Born as Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, Gaynor trained as a ballerina as     
a child and began her career as a chorus dancer. She sang, acted and danced in a     
number of film musicals, often paired with some of the biggest male musical         
Notable early roles included There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) which     
featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey,           
Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor, and Johnnie Ray.                                   
She also appeared in Les Girls (1957, directed by George Cukor) with Gene Kelly     
and Kay Kendall, and the remake of Anything Goes (1956), co-starring Bing Crosby,   
Donald O'Connor, and Zizi Jeanmaire, loosely based on the musical by Cole Porter,   
P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton.                                                       
Gaynor's biggest international fame came from her starring role as Ensign Nellie     
Forbush in the film version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's South     
Pacific, one of the most financially successful musicals of all time, although       
it was largely panned by critics. For her performance, she was nominated for a       
Golden Globe Award for best actress.                                                 
She made films with many other well-known stars, including Ginger Rogers, Frank     
Sinatra, David Niven, Dan Dailey, Betty Grable and Oscar Levant. She made her       
last film to date in the early 1960s. One of her last films was the United           
Kingdom production Surprise Package (1960), a musical comedy thriller directed       
by Stanley Donen. Her co-stars were Yul Brynner and Noel Coward. The film had a     
theme song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn.                                       
Following her film work, Gaynor remained a popular favorite. She often performed     
songs at Academy Awards ceremonies. At the 1967 Oscar telecast, she sang the         
theme from the film Georgy Girl. Gaynor later added the number to her concert       
repertoire. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Gaynor starred in nine acclaimed         
television specials which garnered 16 Emmy nominations.                             
Gaynor also recorded two albums for the Verve label - one called Mitzi, and the     
second called Mitzi Gaynor Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin. It is estimated         
that she earned more from the record royalties on the South Pacific soundtrack       
album than her salary for the movie. She also recorded the title song from her       
film, Happy Anniversary for the Top Rank label.                                     
For several decades, Mitzi Gaynor was a top attraction in Las Vegas and at           
nightclub and concert venues throughout the Unites States and Canada. During the     
1990s, Gaynor also became a featured columnist for the influential newsmagazine     
The Hollywood Reporter. During her nightclub years, Gaynor rehearsed and broke       
in her night club routines at 'The Cave,' a popular night club in Vancouver. She     
developed a certain affinity for the city and was much appreciated by both the       
local media and the viewing public, frequently making guest appearances on local     
television for interviews. "Mitzi's back in town," became an annual slogan when     
Gaynor would come to the city for a number of weeks each year to break in her       
Las Vegas routines.                                                                 
On October 14, 2006, the NY Alumni "adopted" Gaynor as an official "New Yorker"     
at Beverly Hills High School in California. New York City Mayor Michael             
Bloomberg issued a proclamation paying tribute to her distinguished career as a     
singer, dancer, actress and writer.LA Style Watch.                                   
On December 4, 2006, Jack Bean, Gaynor's husband of 52 years, died of pneumonia     
in the couple's Beverly Hills home, aged 84. A producer and personal manager,       
Bean guided Gaynor's career, most notably securing her the lead role in South       
Pacific, even over the character's creator on Broadway, Mary Martin.                 
On April 10, 2007 Mitzi Gaynor was honored by the Museum of Television & Radio       
in Los Angeles with a special evening celebrating her acclaimed television           
specials of the 1960s and 70's. The sold-out event, Mitzi Gaynor Razzle-Dazzle!:The 
Special Years, featured a screening followed by a panel discussion with Gaynor,     
designer Bob Mackie and director/choreographer Tony Charmoli. In conjunction         
with the event, the Museum also featured a month-long gallery exhibit, Mitzi By     
Mackie, featuring Bob Mackie's Emmy-winning costumes from her specials along         
with a selection of costumes from Gaynor's legendary stage shows and concert         
Miss Gaynor is currently at work on a new one-woman live stage show and a DVD       
box set of her television specials.