Happy birthday Mary Martin!

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Mary Martin (December 1, 1913—November 3, 1990) was an American actress. She appeared in several films, but is most remembered for her presence on Broadway. Some of her better known productions include Leave It To Me! (1938), Peter Pan (1959), and The Sound of Music (1959).

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Martin was born in Weatherford, Texas to Preston Martin and Juanita Presley. She adored her father, who was a lawyer, and she began to sing outside the courtroom where he worked in a trio of girls in bellhop uniforms.

She attended finishing school at Ward-Belmont in Nashville before returning to Weatherford to marry her high school sweetheart Benjamin Hagman. But she became bored with married life and eventually started teaching dance.

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She went to California to learn more dance, studying at Franchon and Marco School of the Theatre. She came back and opened her own studio in Mineral Wells, Texas. She was given access to the studio on the condition that she sing in the lobby every Saturday. In a fluke accident, she got hired to sing in the wings at the Fox Theater in San Francisco.

She decided she was not happy in her marriage and left everything behind, including a son, to go to auditions in Hollywood.

 

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She was cast in Cole Porter's Leave It to Me! on Broadway in 1938. She became an instant star for singing the song "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." The song became the point of a media frenzy as her father died while she was working on the production. She wasn't able to attend his funeral.

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She went on to appear in South Pacific in 1949 and on the West End production in 1951. Later, she starred as Maria in Peter Pan (1959) and The Sound of Music (1959). She also appeared in The Skin of Our Teeth (1955), Annie Get Your Gun (1957), Jennie (1963), Hello, Dolly! (1965-1966) and several other shows.

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She appeared in several films in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but she mainly performed on stage because she enjoyed the connection she felt with a live audience. Some of her films include The Rage of Paris (1938), The Great Victor Herbert (1939), and Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1941).

Martin received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 01 December 2014
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