You’ve heard Marni Nixon’s voice hundreds of times, even if you’ve never seen her face. West Side Story. My Fair Lady. And one of the few musicals I enjoy, The King and I. These and many other movie musical performances were the incomparably versatile Marni Nixon. She was probably the most famous ghost singer in film history. The studios would call her in when they didn’t feel the leading actress had a strong enough singing voice for the role. Actresses like Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn were immensely talented (and highly photogenic), but not great singers. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t as good as Marni.
Here’s one of my favorite musical clips ever, with Marni Nixon singing for Deborah Kerr. “Shall We Dance” also happens to be one of the sexiest scenes in movie history, so feel free to enjoy the afterglow. RIP, Marni.