The singing world of nearly every genre drew a deep sigh of sadness this week, as news of the death of legendary singer Marni Nixon traveled around the world.
While most of the world will remember Marni as the voice from behind the scenes, dubbing songs for Deborah Kerr in The King and I; Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady; and Natalie Wood in West Side Story, to name just the top trifecta. She also played unknown numbers of voiceover roles for animated and live-action films, many uncredited and even kept secret for years.
Concertgoers and musicians in Southern California will remember her as a teacher at CalArts and the Music Academy of the West, as well as for her numerous guest appearances over the years, setting the standard with a wide variety of ensembles, all the way back to the early days of Roger Wagner and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, one of the many SoCal connections chronicled in the excellent 1995 history of LA music, Evenings On and Off the Roof. These are all mere highlights in a career that spanned many decades, multiple styles and diverse musical communities. She was known and respected for her talent, her artistry and her warm and generous nature. She was immensely supportive of younger singers, and served as a role model for generations of hopefuls.
The mainstream news media has payed much attention to this tremendous loss, of course, with a variety of tributes from sites around the globe. Here are just a few that stand out:
Thank you, Ms. Nixon, for helping so many people sound great, and for the gifts you’ve given to us all.