Turnout was low, but aptly-named blogger The House of Beauty and Culture was correct in guessing the common thread connecting Marilyn Monroe, Rita Moreno, and little Margaret O'Brien: our favorite Ghost Whisperer, Miss Marni Nixon.
We spent an enchanting evening a week ago at Film Forum, listening to Ms. Nixon recount stories of her career, and viewing rare clips of her work. Of the many surprises (to us, anyway), we were most interested to learn that aside from The Big Three ("ghosting" Deborah in The King and I, Natalie in West Side Story, and Audrey in My Fair Lady), marvelous Marni supplied the high notes for Marilyn's "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" production number:
That's Marni you hear during the pseudo-operatic intro, as well as the "[Stand straight at] Tiff...ny's" line, and the final "...are a girl's best friend" trill. Marni also sang a Hindu lullaby (!) for Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden (1949), and on a day when Rita Moreno was ill, had to dub a few bars for her, as well as Natalie, during the recording of the "Quintet" number from West Side Story (1961).
At 77, Marni Nixon still looks and sounds wonderful (she entered the Forum singing "Getting to Know You," to our utter surprise and delight). She was bright, charming, funny, and entertaining -- all one could hope for from a visiting celebrity! Visit her official website here.