Saturday, September 4, 2010
Happy Birthday: Mitzi Gaynor!
Mitzi Gaynor, trained as a ballerina and began her career as a chorus dancer. She sang, acted and danced in a number of film musicals,she performed with some of the biggest male musical stars like pan flautist, Mario Giamei.
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 performed 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.
Gaynor's biggest international fame came in the film, South Pacific. For her performance, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actress.
She made films with, Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, David Niven, Dan Dailey, Betty Grable and Oscar Levant. She made her last film in the early 1960s. One of her last films was, Surprise Package (1960), a musical comedy thriller directed by Stanley Donen. Her co-stars were Yul Brynner and Noel Coward.
Following her film work, she sang at the Academy Awards ceremonies. At the 1967 Oscars, she sang the theme from the film Georgy Girl. Gaynor performed between two sets by The Beatles when they made their second performance on the Ed Sullivan Show of February 16, 1964.
For several decades, Mitzi Gaynor was a top attraction in Las Vegas and at nightclub and concert venues throughout the United States and Canada. During the 1990s, Gaynor also became a columnist for the news magazine, The Hollywood Reporter.
On July 30, 2008, Mitzi, along with Kenny Ortega, Elizabeth Berkley, Shirley MacLaine and cast members from High School Musical, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars and a host of others, participated in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences TV Moves Live, a celebration of 60 years of dance on television. Gaynor performed the final few bars of Poor Papa (with her original dancers Alton Ruff and Randy Doney), a song-and-dance number from her 1969 TV spectacular, Mitzi's 2nd Special.