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I Could Have Sung All Night
Written by Marni Nixon   

 I Could Have Sung All Night

by Marni Nixon with Stephen Cole

Book Review by Diana Saenger

icouldhavesungallnight.jpgAnyone who loves musical theater has probably heard of Marni Nixon, a classical singer with a rich career of performances. Classic film fans, however, might not recognize her name, but indeed may have heard her lovely voice thinking it was Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story or Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Nixon's memoir, I Could Have Sung All Night, is a fascinating look behind the curtain of early Hollywood films and an honest and revealing peek into Nixon's own life - sometimes exciting, other times heartbreaking.

Nixon began brushing shoulders with celebrities in 1942 when she became a messenger girl and tour guide at MGM studios. It wasn't long before her beautiful singing voice was discovered and her landed her first dubbing job, in Hindu, for Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden. By age 24 Nixon was standing on the set of The King and I with Deborah Kerr and director Ken Darby to dub Kerr's songs for the movie.

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Deborah Kerr & Marni Nixon on the set of An Affair To Remember (1956)

This practice was kept a big secret during these years, and Nixon's book goes into detail about her highs of landing this exciting career, the lows of never being recognized for her dubbing work and how she made her living otherwise.

Nixon leaves no stone unturned in her private life in this memoir. In 1950 she married Ernest Gold, the famed German composer who wrote the music to Exodus and many film scores. The couple was married for nineteen years and had three children, and as Nixon reveals, it was a marriage of love, convenience, betrayals and discoveries.

Part of the enjoyment of reading I Could Have Sung All Night is how well written and thorough it is. Co-writer and dramatist Stephen Cole has added his exciting touch to coin a great phrase and assist Nixon in making the book quite visual as you read. It's also easy to get caught up in her infectious excitement of her career as it just went up and up. I also found myself surprised and sometimes sympathetic when she blazingly reveals very private moments in her life like when she had an affair with a married man, survived cancer and faced tragedy in her own family.

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Marni Nixon in Seattle Opera's Violetta (1975)

 

Nixon also acted in films, is a stage actress, and still performs today with symphonies all over the world.

The book has lots of wonderful photos that span Nixon's career and include many Hollywood celebrities. Anyone interested in musicals or some of the behind the studio secrets of many of those films, should add I Could Have Sung All Night to their bookshelf.

 

 

Read Robert Osborne's interview with Marni Nixon on Classic Movie Guide

DATA ABOUT THE BOOK

—    I Could Have Sung All Night

— Billboard Books, an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications, a division of VNU Business Media, 2006

— ISBN 13: 978-0-8230-8365-7

— Hardcover

— 306 pages

— $24.95

Images © Billboard Books/20th Century Fox/Seattle Opera  

 
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