Mimi Benzell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mimi Benzell
Mimi Benzell 1956.JPG
Benzell in 1956.
Background information
Birth name Miriam Ruth Benzell
Born (1918-04-06)April 6, 1918[1]
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Died December 23, 1970(1970-12-23) (aged 52)
Manhasset, New York
Genres Classical, jazz
Occupation(s) Actress, singer

Miriam Ruth "Mimi" Benzell (April 6, 1918 – December 23, 1970) was an American soprano who performed with the Metropolitan Opera before establishing herself as a Broadway musical theatre, television, and nightclub performer.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1918 to William and Esther (née Cohn) Benzell;[2] her father was in the furniture business and her paternal grandfather had been a popular singer in Russia before emigrating to the United States. Mimi Benzell and her family moved to New York City, where she attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. She later attended Hunter College for two years and the Marines School of Music. Originally a piano student, the switched to voice under the tutelage of Mine. Olga Eisner.

She was 20 years old when she made her Met debut in a Sunday concert on December 3, 1944. She made her stage debut in Mozart's The Magic Flute on January 5, 1945.[3] Additional Met credits that Benzell compiled include performances in La Bohème, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, and Barber of Seville.

In 1961, she appeared in Jerry Herman's first book musical, Milk and Honey, which proved to be her only Broadway production.[4] Benzell performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, then still titled Toast of the Town, eleven times between 1949 and 1955. She appeared as a panelist on both the daytime and primetime editions of the game show To Tell the Truth, and was a guest star on the short-lived DuMont series Off the Record alongside Zero Mostel and Joey Faye. Among her recordings were Roberta and The Vagabond King, both with Alfred Drake.[citation needed]


Benzell died of an undisclosed form of cancer on December 23, 1970 in Manhasset, New York, aged 52.[5] She was survived by her husband, Walter Gould, and their two children, Jonathan and Jennifer, as well as by her three brothers and a sister.[6]


  1. ^ "Ancestry Library Edition". search.ancestrylibrary.com. 
  2. ^ "Ancestry Library Edition". www.ancestrylibrary.com. 
  3. ^ "Benzell, Mimi" CID 138420 in MetOpera Database; accessed February 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Profile, Internet Broadway Database; accessed February 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Obituary, time.com, January 4, 1971. NOTE: Wrong age at death.
  6. ^ Editors (December 24, 1970) “Mimi Benzell, Entertainer, Dead”, New York Times; retrieved April 7, 2017. NOTE: Wrong age at death.

External links[edit]