Marni Nixon may be the embodiment of behind-the-curtain singing in big Hollywood musicals. But there have been other incidents of singers surreptitiously subbing vocals of the stars. (We’ll skip for now the scores of celebrities, from Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey, who have lip-synched live to their pre-recorded vocals).
Marni Nixon Marni Nixon was one of the best-loved voices nobody knew. While stars like Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood got the applause and record royalties for their works in musicals such as “The King and I,” “My Fair Lady” and “West Side Story,” it was Nixon’s soprano voice heard on the songs, uncredited. Often, she signed contracts never to disclose the ruse. Years ago, the secret got out, and Nixon became a kind of byword for behind-the-scenes vocal stand-ins, which are used less today. “It was just a part of the working singer’s job in Hollywood to do anything that was necessary, and a lot of dubbing was going on,” she says of the era. To subsidize a classical career that had her eventually singing for Stravinsky and Schoenberg, “you just worked any way you can.” Craig Herndon Buy Photo