Marni Nixon, soprano who dubbed voices of Hollywood A-listers, dies aged 86

Tributes have been paid to the soprano who dubbed the voices of Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe, who has died aged 86.

Marni Nixon's voice could be heard in some of the biggest movie musicals of the Golden Age, as she dubbed Natalie in West Side Story, Audrey in My Fair Lady and Deborah Kerr in The King And I.

She also performed the high notes on Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend for Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Marni Nixon.
(Harden-Curtis Associates)

The American singer was referred to as "The ghostess with the mostest" and in 2012 won the George Peabody Award for outstanding contributions to American music.

Her agent told the Press Association: "She passed away peacefully, with her family by her side, of breast cancer."

Before her death she worked as a singing teacher in New York, offering master classes and private lessons.

We are deeply saddened to share that NATS member

Marni was responsible for some of the most famous numbers from the popular musicals, including Getting To Know You from The King and I, I Feel Pretty from West Side Story and I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.

In 1967 she told the New York Times: "The anonymity didn't bother me until I sang Natalie Wood's songs in West Side Story. Then I saw how important my singing was to the picture. I was giving my talent, and somebody else was taking the credit."

In 1981 she told the same newspaper: "It got so I'd lent my voice to so many others that I felt it no longer belonged to me. It was eerie; I had lost part of myself."

Born in February 1930, in Altadena, California, she first ventured into showbusiness as a teenager, working as a messenger at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Her first significant dubbing job was singing a Hindu lullaby for Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden in 1949.

She ventured on to the stage as Eliza Doolittle in the 1964 version of My Fair Lady at City Centre in New York, after Julie Andrews played the same part in the original Broadway production.

She later played Sister Sophia opposite Julie in The Sound Of Music.

She enjoyed other musical theatre roles, as well as film and TV appearances, supplying the singing voice of Grandmother Fa in Disney film Mulan in 1998.

She won four Emmys for best actress for her children's TV show Boomerang.

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