Ethel Merman

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Ethel Merman
Ethel Agnes Zimmermann

(1908-01-16)January 16, 1908
DiedFebruary 15, 1984(1984-02-15) (aged 76)
Years active1930–1982
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)William Smith (1940–1941)
Robert Levitt, Sr. (1941–1952)
Robert Six (1953–1960)
Ernest Borgnine (1964; 32 days)
ChildrenEthel Levitt and Robert Levitt, Jr.

Ethel Merman (born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann; January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was an American actress and singer.[1] She was known for her powerful voice and roles in musical theatre. She was the first to sing many famous Broadway songs. "There's No Business Like Show Business" became her theme song.

One of Merman's best remembered performances was as the stage mother in Gypsy. Merman was nominated for a Tony Award. She lost to her close friend Mary Martin in The Sound of Music. Rosalind Russell was given the role in the movie. Merman said it was "The greatest professional disappointment of my life.".

Personal life[change | change source]

Merman was married and divorced four times:

  1. William Smith, theatrical agent (1940–1941)
  2. Robert Levitt, a newspaper executive (1941–1952)
  3. Robert Six, President, Continental Airlines (1953–1960)
  4. Ernest Borgnine, the actor, in 1964. Merman filed for divorce 32 days later.

Merman had two children with Levitt: Ethel (born July 20, 1942), and Robert, Jr. (born August 11, 1945). Ethel Levitt died on August 23, 1967, of an accidental drug overdose. Merman's son was married to actress Barbara Colby. She was shot and killed for no known motive in Los Angeles in 1975.

References[change | change source]

  1. Obituary Variety, February 22, 1984.