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Ethel Merman
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Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman (January 16, 1908 - February 15, 1984) was a star of stage musicals.

She was born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, in Astoria, Queens, New York, of a German Lutheran father and Scottish Presbyterian mother, although many people assumed she was Jewish.

  • married Robert Levitt (divorced)
  • married Robert Six in 1953 (divorced)
  • married Ernest Borgnine 1964 (divorced): married for 32 days
  • married Sam Neuman (divorced): a marriage of convenience
She was known for her powerful alto voice, exact enunciation, and accurate pitch. Because stage singers performed without microphones when she began singing professionally, she had great advantages in show business.

She began singing while working as a secretary. She eventually became a full time vaudeville performer, and played the pinnacle of vaudeville, the Palace Theater in New York City. She had already been engaged for Girl Crazy, a musical with songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Her rendition of I Got Rhythm in the show was popular, and by the late 1930s she had become the first lady of the Broadway musical stage. Many consider her the leading Broadway musical performer of the twentieth century.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Ethel Merman Facts

Birth NameEthel Agnes Zimmerman
BirthdayJanuary 16, 1909
BirthplaceAstoria, Queens, New York, USA
Date of deathFebruary 15, 1984 (age 75)
Awards1954 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for Call Me Madam)

Selected Filmography

Not available.