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Mitzi Gaynor

Real name: Francesca Marlene von Gerber
Birthdate: September 4, 1931
Status: Married
Partner: Jack Bean

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Mitzi Gaynor (born September 4, 1931, Chicago, Illinois, although some sources indicate 1930) is an American actress, singer, and dancer.

Born as Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, Gaynor trained as a ballerina as a child and began her career as a chorus dancer. She sang, acted and danced in a number of film musicals, often paired with some of the biggest male musical stars.

Notable early roles included There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) which featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor, and Johnnie Ray.

She also appeared in Les Girls (1957, directed by George Cukor) with Gene Kelly and Kay Kendall, and the remake of Anything Goes (1956), co-starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, and Zizi Jeanmaire, loosely based on the musical by Cole Porter, P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton.

Gaynor's biggest international fame came from her starring role as Ensign Nellie Forbush in the film version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's South Pacific, one of the most financially successful musicals of all time, although it was largely panned by critics. For her performance, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actress.

Gaynor also recorded two albums for the Verve label - one called Mitzi, and the second called Mitzi Gaynor Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin. It is estimated that she earned more from the record royalties on the South Pacific soundtrack album than her salary for the movie. She also recorded the title song from her film, Happy Anniversary for the Top Rank label.

On October 14, 2006, the NY Alumni "adopted" Gaynor as an official "New Yorker" at Beverly Hills High School in California. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation paying tribute to her distinguished career as a singer, dancer, actress and writer.LA Style Watch.

On December 4, 2006, Jack Bean, Gaynor's husband of 52 years, died of pneumonia in the couple's Beverly Hills home, aged 84. A producer and personal manager, Bean guided Gaynor's career, most notably securing her the lead role in South Pacific, even over the character's creator on Broadway, Mary Martin.

On October 14, 1968 Mitzi Gaynor starred in her first television special, Mitzi. In specials including Mitzi - The First Time and Mitzi...Zings into Spring she showcased the triple-threat talents she had perfected first as a theatrical performer, then in films like There's No Business Like Show Business, Les Girls, and South Pacific, and finally as a cabaret performer.

Each special was a lavish blend of song, dance and comedy with guest stars drawn from the top ranks of the business including Bob Hope, Carl Reiner, Michael Landon, Suzanne Pleshette, Ken Berry and George Hamilton. Even the 80 member USC marching band joined her for a musical medley.


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