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Ethel Merman, Queen of Musicals, Dies at 76
Ethel Merman, the musical-comedy star whose belting voice and brassy style entertained Broadway and movie audiences for 50 years, was found dead in her Manhattan apartment yesterday.
Miss Merman, who was 76 years old, had undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor last April. The Medical Examiner's office reported yesterday that she died of natural causes.
The singer's booming voice was first heard on a Broadway stage in 1930 when she brought down the house singing ''I Got Rhythm'' in the Gershwin musical ''Girl Crazy.'' Her last major appearance in New York was in 1982, when she took part in a Carnegie Hall benefit concert.
Miss Merman's most memorable shows included Cole Porter's ''Anything Goes'' and ''Dubarry Was a Lady,'' Irving Berlin's ''Annie Get Your Gun'' and the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical ''Gypsy,'' which she considered her best. Her 14 movies included ''Alexander's Ragtime Band,'' ''There's No Business Like Show Business'' and ''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.''
Beginning in 1930, and for more than a quarter of a century thereafter, no Broadway season seemed really complete unless it had a musical with Ethel Merman. In that period, the chunky, aggressive star with the clarion voice, brash personality, shrewd comic sense and steel nerves was the darling of such master songwriters as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Jule Styne.
When her Broadway career all but ended in 1959 with what many of her admirers considered her finest performance, as the mother of the stripper in ''Gypsy,'' she had done 13 musicals, nearly all of them hits.
She returned for a brief run, in 1966, of an ''Annie Get Your Gun'' revival, and although the critics cheered her still-powerful voice, they questioned the wisdom of a 59-year-old playing a lovestruck girl. In 1970, she was the last of the six stars who played the title role in Jerry Herman's ''Hello, Dolly!'' In 1964, she had turned down the role and it went to Carol Channing.
Miss Merman made 14 movies, some of them based on her Broadway triumphs, had her own radio show and scored a huge national success in 1953 in a television special teamed with Mary Martin, perhaps the only Broadway musical star of her stature at the time.
But it was on Broadway that Miss Merman belonged. Composers vied for her, knowing she would hit every note on the mark, hold it as long as needed, give it the right shading, follow the trickiest rhythm flawlessly. Lyrics writers were equally certain that she would make every syllable distinct and evoke every bit of laughter from a comic line.
Her delighted customers knew that when the ''belter'' strode onstage, turned her round eyes on them, raised her quizzical eyebrows and opened her wide mouth, they would get full value wherever they sat. She needed no hidden microphones. Equally important, they knew that when they bought tickets for a Merman show - usually well in advance - she would be there, her face beaming, strong arms churning, regardless of snowfall or flu epidemic. Her health was as legendary as her toughness and outspokenness.
In any gathering of showgoers, merely to mention a Merman show was enough to touch off a wave of nostalgia in which people began recalling - perhaps even singing - her hits. They included Gershwin's ''I Got Rhythm,'' from ''Girl Crazy''; ''Eadie Was a Lady,'' from ''Take a Chance''; ''Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries'' by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson, from the 1931 ''George White's Scandals''; ''Blow, Gabriel, Blow,'' ''I Get a Kick Out of You'' and ''You're the Top,'' from Porter's ''Anything Goes''; ''Ridin' High,'' from Porter's ''Red, Hot and Blue''; ''Friendship,'' from Porter's ''DuBarry Was a lady''; ''Let's Be Buddies,'' from Porter's ''Panama Hattie''; ''Doin' What Comes Natur'lly,'' ''You Can't Get a Man With a Gun,'' ''They Say It's Wonderful'' and ''I Got the Sun in the Morning,'' from Berlin's ''Annie Get Your Gun''; ''The Hostess With the Mostes' on the Ball'' and ''You're Just in Love,'' from Berlin's ''Call Me Madam,'' and ''Rose's Turn,'' from the Styne-Sondheim score for ''Gypsy.''
Her films included ''We're Not Dressing,'' ''Kid Millions,'' ''Strike Me Pink,'' ''Alexander's Ragtime Band,'' ''There's No Business Like Show Business'' and the Hollywood versions of ''Anything Goes'' and ''Call Me Madam.''
A self-taught singer, Miss Merman did not try to analyze her technique or style. When asked to explain her success, she said:
''I just stand up and holler and hope my voice holds out.'' Or: ''I leave the songs the way they came out of the composer's head.'' Or: ''Even if I don't know how I get the effects I end up with, I do have sense enough to know that I do all right. I'd be a dope if I didn't know that. I'd be even dopier if I changed the way I do it.''
''She's the best,'' Irving Berlin once said of her. ''You give her a bad song, and she'll make it sound good. Give her a good song, and she'll make it sound great
Curves of Life
It maybe so boring to be long hours on a bus without seeing things along the road from window seat. I booked a seat number when buying ticket but I was not so sure to get the seat number I wanted .. kind of "first come.. first serve"... but for sure everybody gets a seat..
So I went to bus station early and there I was told to sit in any seat I like ..no need to care for number... so who came late could not complain otherwise all everybody had to change seat ...
So I was glad I could sit on the location I likes .. in the left side so that I could see the river and valley.. The highway from cities was quite rolling and there were small trees and electric poles along road side, then taking photo was not so easy and predictable task.. Sometimes my arm and my forehead slightly bumped to the windows too..
However it was with fun ..
I didn't sleep but enjoy the view.. talking to a Japanese man sitting beside, listening to MP3 music sometimes and that made me already enjoy the no aircon bus along long, rolling and winding road..
This shot I waited till the bus passed to the location without trees and electric pole. It's not easy but not too difficult and I felt it's liked a full of fun photogrpay workshop... as I had three whole days travelling by tourist bus... from Kathmandu- Chitawan, from Chitawan - Pokhara and from Pokhara - Kathmandu.. This is the last trip by tourist bus..
I enjoyed it very much.. It's not a matter of cost that I didn't take the more expensive green line bus... with luxury seat, air con and insurance for tourist only.. It was something I want to see more on street and street life so that I took tourist bus.. I could be able to see and join with local life, eating local food. I didn't feel bothered when ther bus parked often. Insttead I enjoyed seeing closer street life
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