Mitzi Gaynor, c. 1954
Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber
September 4, 1931
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, entertainer|
(m. 1954;died 2006)
Mitzi Gaynor (born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber; September 4, 1931) is an American actress, singer, and dancer. Her notable films include There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), The Birds and the Bees (1956), and South Pacific , the 1958 motion picture adaptation of the stage musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Mitzi Gaynor was born as Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber in Chicago the daughter of Pauline, a dancer, and Henry de Czanyi von Gerber, a violinist, cellist, and music director.After her father remarried, she became step-sister to anti-war activist Donald W. Duncan.
Her family first moved to Elgin, Illinois,and then to Detroit, and later when she was eleven, on to Hollywood. She trained as a ballerina as a child and began her career in the corps de ballet. At 13, she was singing and dancing with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera company. She lied about her address so she could attend Le Conte Junior High in Hollywood.
She signed a seven-year contract with Twentieth Century-Fox at age 17. She sang, acted, and danced in a number of film musicals, often paired with some of the biggest male musical stars of the day. A Fox Studio executive thought that Mitzi Gerber sounded like the name of a delicatessen, and they came up with a name that used the same initials.
Gaynor made her film debut in a musical, My Blue Heaven (1950); Betty Grable and Dan Dailey starred and she had a supporting role. A college drama Take Care of My Little Girl (1951) followed with Gaynor playing the roommate of Jeanne Crain.
Fox then gave Gaynor a star part, in the musical biopic Golden Girl (1951), playing Lotta Crabtree. It was a mild success at the box office.Gaynor was one of several stars in the anthology comedy We're Not Married! (1952), then she was top billed in the musical, Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952), which made $2 million.
Fox put her in another biopic, The I Don't Care Girl (1952) and she played Eva Tanguay. The film made $1.25 million.Gaynor starred in Down Among the Sheltering Palms (1953), playing a South Sea island girl. She was the female lead in a Western, Three Young Texans (1954). Gaynor's most popular film in her time at Fox was Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). She was billed after Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor and Johnnie Ray.
Gaynor married Jack Bean, a talent agent and public relations executive for MCA, in San Francisco on 18 November 1954. Their home was on North Arden Drive in Beverly Hills, California.She had just been released from Twentieth Century-Fox (before the start of There's No Business Like Show Business) with four years left on her contract and decided with the time off to get married. The union was childless. After their marriage, Bean quit MCA and started his publicity firm called Bean & Rose and managed Gaynor's career.
In 1956, Gaynor appeared in the Paramount remake of Anything Goes , co-starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, and Zizi Jeanmaire, loosely based on the musical by Cole Porter, P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. Paramount cast her in another remake, The Birds and the Bees (1956), playing the role originated by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941). Her third film for Paramount was The Joker Is Wild (1957), a biopic of Joe E. Lewis starring Frank Sinatra, in which Gaynor played the female lead. In 1957, Gaynor appeared in MGM's Les Girls, directed by George Cukor, with Gene Kelly and Kay Kendall.
Her biggest international fame came from her starring role as Ensign Nellie Forbush in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific . For her performance, she was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe Award.
Gaynor followed this with a comedy at MGM, Happy Anniversary (1959) opposite David Niven, and the United Kingdom production Surprise Package (1960), a musical comedy thriller directed by Stanley Donen. Her co-stars were Yul Brynner and Noël Coward. The film's theme song was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen and performed by Sammy Cahn.Her last film role was For Love or Money (1963), starring Kirk Douglas.
Following her film work, Gaynor performed in other media. She appeared between two sets by The Beatles when they made their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 16 February 1964. She performed for a nine-minute segment from the stage of the Deauville Hotel, in Miami Beach, separated by one commercial break. She sang "Too Darn Hot" and a blues medley. At the 1967 Academy Awards ceremony, she sang the theme from the film Georgy Girl . Gaynor later added the number to her concert repertoire. Through the 1960s and 1970s, she starred in nine television specials that garnered 16 Emmy nominations.
Gaynor recorded two albums for the Verve Records label, one called Mitzi and the second called Mitzi Gaynor Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin. She is thought to have 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, Gaynor appeared regularly in Las Vegas and at nightclub and concert venues throughout the United States and Canada.[ citation needed ]
During the 1990s, Gaynor became a featured columnist for the newsmagazine The Hollywood Reporter . During her nightclub years, Gaynor developed and rehearsed her routines at The Cave, a club in Vancouver. She became fond of the city and frequently made 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 develop her Las Vegas routines. 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.[ citation needed ]
On 30 July 2008, Gaynor –along with Kenny Ortega, Elizabeth Berkley, Shirley MacLaine, and the cast members from High School Musical , So You Think You Can Dance , Dancing with the Stars , and other performers –appeared on the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences TV Moves Live, a celebration of 60 years of dance on television. Gaynor appeared performing the final few bars of "Poor Papa", a song-and-dance number from her 1969 TV special, Mitzi's 2nd Special. Four months later, on 18 November 2008, City Lights Pictures released Mitzi Gaynor Razzle Dazzle: The Special Years, a documentary celebrating Gaynor's annual television specials of the 1960s and 1970s. The film, which was broadcast on public television and released on DVD, includes moments from the original specials (digitally remastered in 5.1 stereo) along with newly taped interviews with Gaynor colleagues, friends, and admirers, including Bob Mackie, Carl Reiner, Kristin Chenoweth, Rex Reed, Tony Charmoli, Alton Ruff, Randy Doney, and Kelli O'Hara. Gaynor's one-woman show, Razzle Dazzle: My Life Behind the Sequins, toured the United States and Vancouver from 2009 thru 2014, including a two-week engagement in New York City.
On 14 October 2006, the NY Alumni "adopted" Gaynor as an official "New Yorker" at Beverly Hills High School. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation paying tribute to her distinguished career as a singer, dancer, actress and writer.
On 10 April 2007, she was honoured by the Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles with a special evening celebrating her television specials of the 1960s–1970s. 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 appearances.
On 8 March 2009, Gaynor was honoured with the 2009 Boston Youth Moves lifetime achievement award, presented by Chita Rivera at Swellegance, the Boston Youth Moves annual fundraiser in Boston.
On 7 November 2009, Gaynor was honoured with Chapman University's lifetime achievement in the arts award during the 28th annual American celebration gala night at Chapman University in Orange, California.On 10 July 2009, she was honoured with the Tremaine 2009 entertainer of the year award from the Joe Tremaine dance competition nationals final gala in Orlando, Florida.
On 13 April 2010, she was honoured with the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th annual Bistro Awards in New York City.
On 18 April 2010, Gaynor won the 2010 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences - New York Chapter Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment Program/Special for her public television musical documentary "Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years".
On 10 September 2016, Gaynor was honoured with the inaugural "Legend Award" from Nigel Lythgoe's Dizzy Feet Foundation.
On 30 September 2017, Gaynor was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame, which celebrates lyricists, composers, and performers who helped to create “the soundtrack of our lives” with their contribution to American Popular song, by its founder Michael Feinstein.
On October 14, 1968, Gaynor starred in her first television special, Mitzi. In specials including Mitzi – The First Time and Mitzi ... Zings into Spring she showcased the talents she had first used as a theatrical performer, then in films like There's No Business Like Show Business, Les Girls, and South Pacific, and finally as a concert performer.
|1950||My Blue Heaven||Gloria Adams|
|1951||Take Care of My Little Girl||Adelaide Swanson|
|Golden Girl||Lotta Crabtree|
|1952||We're Not Married!||Patricia 'Patsy' Reynolds Fisher|
|Bloodhounds of Broadway||Emily Ann Stackerlee|
|1953||The I Don't Care Girl||Eva Tanguay|
|Down Among the Sheltering Palms||Rozouila|
|1954||Three Young Texans||Rusty Blair|
|Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business||Katy Donahue|
|1956||Anything Goes||Patsy Blair|
|The Birds and the Bees||Jean Harris|
|1957||The Joker Is Wild||Martha Stewart|
|Les Girls||Joanne 'Joy' Henderson|
|1958||South Pacific||Ensign Nellie Forbush, USN|
|1959||Happy Anniversary||Alice Walters nee Gans|
|1960||Surprise Package||Gabby Rogers|
|1963||For Love or Money||Kate Brasher|
In the novel Breakfast on Pluto and the film of the same name, cartoon robins narrate as the protagonist's mother looked like Mitzi Gaynor.
In The Simpsons episode "All About Lisa", Sideshow Mel takes Lisa Simpson aside after she becomes Krusty the Clown's assistant. He tells her that the key to dealing with Krusty is to always be prepared to cater to his needs—have a cigar at the ready, never directly look him in the eye, and pretend to know who Mitzi Gaynor is if he mentions her – he always does. She then uses this reference when Krusty says Lisa is the best thing since... "Mitzi Gaynor!" Lisa exclaims.
In episode 2 of Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus , Connie Booth played Princess Mitzi Gaynor in "The Tale of Happy Valley".
Mitzi Gaynor is mentioned on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in Episode 4, "The Disappointment of the Dionne Quintuplets".
Mary Virginia Martin was an American actress, singer, and Broadway star. A muse of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she originated many leading roles over her career including Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (1949) and Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1959). She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989. She was the mother of Dallas actor Larry Hagman.
Robert Louis Fosse was an American dancer, musical-theatre choreographer, actor and theatre and filmmaker. He directed and choreographed musical works on stage and screen, including the stage musicals The Pajama Game (choreography) in 1954 and Chicago in 1975 and the film Cabaret in 1972.
Mitzi Kapture is an American actress, known for her role as Sgt. Rita Lee Lance in the CBS/USA Network crime drama series Silk Stalkings from 1991 to 1995.
"Krusty Gets Kancelled" is the twenty-second and final episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 13, 1993. In the episode, a new show featuring ventriloquist Arthur Crandall and his dummy Gabbo premieres in Springfield and competes with Krusty the Clown's show. Krusty's show is soon canceled. Bart and Lisa decide to help Krusty get back on the air by staging a comeback special.
Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business is a 1954 20th Century-Fox musical-comedy-drama film directed by Walter Lang. It stars an ensemble cast, consisting of Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Marilyn Monroe, Johnnie Ray, and Hugh O'Brian.
Robert Gordon Mackie is an American fashion designer and costumier, best known for his dressing of entertainment icons such as Joan Rivers, Cher, RuPaul, Sylvie Vartan, Barbara Eden, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Elton John, Ann-Margret, Carol Burnett, Marie Osmond, Diahann Carroll, Lola Falana, Carol Channing, Mitzi Gaynor, and Vanna White. He was the costume designer for all the performers on The Carol Burnett Show during its entire eleven-year run, and designed the costumes for its spinoff, Mama's Family, and for the 1993 television adaptation of Gypsy.
Daddy Long Legs (1955) is a Hollywood musical comedy film set in France, New York City, and the fictional college town of Walston, Massachusetts. The film was directed by Jean Negulesco, and stars Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Terry Moore, Fred Clark, and Thelma Ritter, with music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The screenplay was written by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron, loosely based on the 1912 novel Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.
Jack Cole was an American dancer, choreographer, and theatre director known as "the Father of Theatrical Jazz Dance".
Tara Morice is an Australian actress.
Les Girls, also known as Cole Porter's Les Girls, is a 1957 musical CinemaScope comedy film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by George Cukor and produced by Sol C. Siegel, with Saul Chaplin as associate producer. The screenplay was by John Patrick, based on a story by Vera Caspary. The music and lyrics were by Cole Porter.
Razzle Dazzle is a Canadian children's program produced between 1961 and 1966.
South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film based on the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which in turn is loosely based on James A. Michener's 1947 short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific. The film, directed by Joshua Logan, stars Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston in the leading roles with Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, the part that she had played in the original stage production. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Sound for Fred Hynes.
Bloodhounds of Broadway is a 1952 Technicolor musical film directed by Harmon Jones and based on a Damon Runyon story. It stars Mitzi Gaynor along with Scott Brady, Mitzi Green, Marguerite Chapman, Michael O'Shea, Wally Vernon, and George E. Stone. Charles Bronson appears, uncredited, as Charles Buchinski.
Mitzi...Roarin' in the 20s is a 1976 Emmy Award winning television special starring Mitzi Gaynor.
My Blue Heaven is a 1950 Technicolor musical drama film directed by Henry Koster, and starring Betty Grable and Dan Dailey.
Lisa Joann Thompson is an American dancer, choreographer, actress, and model involved in multiple areas of show business. She was a Warrior Girl, Laker Girl, Fly Girl, Motown Live Dancer, and Backup dancer to some of the most prominent artists in the music industry. She starred in the hit television show In Living Color as a Fly Girl during seasons 4 and 5, and was assistant choreographer during season 5.
Mitzi or Mitzy is a feminine given name of German origin. Originally a nickname for girls named Maria in German-speaking populations, Mitzi became a given name in its own right, even outside of Germany. Several early 20th century American actresses chose it as part of their stage name, for example Mitzi Green and Mitzi Gaynor, increasing its popularity. In the United States, Mitzi first appeared on the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 most popular names for baby girls in 1930, peaked in 1955, and has since fallen out of favor, dropping off the list entirely after 1979.
Golden Girl is a 1951 Technicolor 20th Century Fox musical film starring Mitzi Gaynor as Lotta Crabtree.
Down Among the Sheltering Palms is a 1953 musical comedy starring Mitzi Gaynor, William Lundigan, Gloria DeHaven, David Wayne and Jane Greer. The popular song of the same name, which dates to 1914, is one of those performed in the film.
Robert Sidney was an American choreographer who was responsible for many film, television and stage dance productions between the 1940s and 1970s.