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Vivian Blaine

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Biography

b. Vivian Stapleton, 21 November 1921, Newark, New Jersey, USA, d. 9 December 1995, New York City, New York, USA. A vivacious actress and singer, Vivian Blaine created one of the American musical theatre’s best-loved characters, Miss Adelaide, in Frank Loesser’s Guys And Dolls. She appeared on stage at her local theatre, and later attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art, before touring with various dance bands. From 1942-46, she was under contract to 20th Century-Fox, and played leading roles in musical films such as Greenwich Village Follies, Something For The Boys, Nob Hill, State Fair (in which she introduced ‘That’s For Me’ and, with Dick Haymes, ‘Isn’t It Kinda Fun?’), and Three Little Girls In Blue (‘Somewhere In The Night’). Blaine also toured in various musicals and in vaudeville before making her Broadway debut in Guys And Dolls in 1950. She gave a delightful performance as the dancer who has been waiting for 14 years in the hope that her fiancé, Nathan Detroit, will finally abandon his floating crap game and marry her. Her frustration boiled over in ‘Sue Me’, and she was splendid in the ensemble numbers ‘Take Back Your Mink’ and ‘A Bushel And A Peck’ with the girls at the ‘Hot Box’ nightclub. However, her stand-out song was ‘Adelaide’s Lament’, in which she shared the knowledge - just gleaned from a book, of all things - that there seems to be a direct relationship between long engagements and ill health: ‘In other words just from waiting around for that plain little band of gold/A person - can develop a cold.’ In 1953 she repeated her success at the London Coliseum, and was back on Broadway five years later with Say, Darling, in which she co-starred with Robert Morse, David Wayne and Johnny Desmond. She subsequently appeared in a number of plays such as A Hatful Of Rain and Enter Laughing, and toured extensively in musical revivals, including Zorba, Follies, Hello, Dolly!, Gypsy, and I Do! I Do! She succeeded Jane Russell (who had taken over from Elaine Stritch) in the role of Joanne in the Broadway production of Company, and also performed in cabaret. After that, her work comprised mainly straight roles in plays, movies, and on US television, where she appeared in the ongoing soap-opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She was married three times - one of her husbands was Milton Rackmil, president of Decca Records and Universal Pictures.

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Birth Name:

Vivian Stapleton

Born:

21 November 1921 in Newark, NJ

Genre
Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s

Contemporaries