Vivian Blaine

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Vivian Blaine
Vivian Blaine in Dream Girl.jpg
Blaine in 1955
Born
Vivian Stapleton

(1921-11-21)November 21, 1921
DiedDecember 9, 1995(1995-12-09) (aged 74)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeKensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York City, U.S.
Years active1934–1985
Spouse(s)
Manny Franks
(m. 1945; div. 1956)
(m. 1959; div. 1961)
Stuart Clark
(m. 1973)

Vivian Blaine (born Vivian Stapleton; November 21, 1921 – December 9, 1995) was an American actress and singer, best known for originating the role of Miss Adelaide in the musical theater production of Guys and Dolls, as well as appearing in the subsequent film version, in which she co-starred with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra.

Early years[edit]

Blaine was born in Newark, New Jersey to Leo Stapleton, an insurance agent,[1] and Wilhelmina Tepley.[2] The cherry-blonde-haired Blaine appeared on local stages as early as 1934 and she started touring after graduating from South Side High School.[3]

Personal appearances[edit]

Blaine was a touring singer with dance bands starting in 1937.

At one point in the 1940s, she was the top-billed act at New York's Copacabana nightclub. In his book, Dean and Me: (A Love Story), Jerry Lewis wrote about appearing at the club when Blaine was on the same bill: "We [Lewis and Dean Martin, as the double act Martin and Lewis] weren't even the top-billed act. That honor went to a Broadway singing star named Vivian Blaine, who'd conquered Manhattan, gone out to Hollywood to make movies for 20th Century Fox, then returned to the Big Apple in triumph. Vivian was a lovely and very talented actress and singer ..."[4]

Film[edit]

Vivian Blaine in Something for the Boys (1944)

In 1942, Blaine's agent and soon-to-be husband Manny Franks signed her to a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox, and she moved to Hollywood, sharing top billing with Laurel and Hardy in Jitterbugs (1943) and starring in Greenwich Village (1944), Something for the Boys (1944), Nob Hill (1945), and State Fair (1945).

Stage[edit]

Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide and Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit in the 1950 original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls

Following her Fox years, Blaine returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in the Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls in 1950. Her character Miss Adelaide has been engaged to inveterate gambler Nathan Detroit played by Sam Levene for 14 years, a condition which, according to her song "Adelaide's Lament", has given her a psychosomatic cold as well as chronic heartbreak.

After the show's 1,200-performance Broadway run, Vivian Blaine and Sam Levene reprised their roles as Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit in the first UK production of Guys and Dolls, which opened at London's West End Coliseum a few days before the 1953 Coronation; the two stars performed their roles 553 times, including a Royal Command Variety Performance for Queen Elizabeth on November 9, 1953. Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide, Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit and Robert Alda as Sky Masterson also performed twice daily in a reduced version of Guys and Dolls when the first Las Vegas production opened a six-month run at the Royal Nevada, September 7, 1955, the first time a Broadway musical was performed on the strip. Vivian Blaine recreated her role as Miss Adelaide in the film version in 1955.

Blaine also appeared on Broadway in A Hatful of Rain, Say, Darling, Enter Laughing, Company, and Zorba, as well as participating in the touring companies of musicals such as Gypsy.

Television[edit]

As Blaine reached age 50, her television career took off, with guest appearances on shows like Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote and The Love Boat, and a recurring role in the cult hit Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.[5] On the 25th annual Tony Awards in 1971, she appeared as a guest performer and sang "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls.

Blaine in her later years was managed by Rob Cipriano and L'Etoile Talent Agencies in New York City. Cipriano spent the early 1980s developing projects for Blaine, including Puppy Love, a TV sitcom with Jake LaMotta and Pat Cooper.[citation needed] She always commented that working with Cipriano reminded her of working with her first husband Manny Franks.

Personal life[edit]

Blaine's first marriage, to Franks, lasted from 1945 to 1956. She then married Milton Rackmil, president of Universal Studios and Decca Records, in 1959, and recorded several albums prior to their 1961 divorce. In 1973, Blaine married Stuart Clark. In 1983 she became the first celebrity to make public-service announcements for AIDS-related causes. She made numerous appearances in support of the then fledgling AIDS-Project Los Angeles (APLA) and in 1983 recorded her cabaret act for AEI Records which donated its royalties to the new group;[6] this included the last recordings of her songs from Guys and Dolls. Her prior albums for Mercury Records[7] have all subsequently been reissued on CD.[8]

Death[edit]

Blaine died of congestive heart failure on December 9, 1995, aged 74.[9]

Filmography[edit]

Vivian Blaine in 1946 film Doll Face
Pin-up photo of Vivian Blaine for the September 1, 1944 issue of Yank, the Army Weekly

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1942 It Happened in Flatbush Minor Role
1942 Thru Different Eyes Sue Boardman
1942 Girl Trouble Barbara Alternate titles: Between You and Me / Man from Brazil
1943 He Hired the Boss Sally Conway
1943 Jitterbugs Susan Cowan
1944 Greenwich Village Bonnie Watson
1944 Something for the Boys Blossom Hart
1945 Nob Hill Sally Templeton
1945 State Fair Emily Edwards
1945 Doll Face Mary Elizabeth 'Doll Face' Carroll Alternate title: Come Back to Me
1946 If I'm Lucky Linda Farrell
1946 Three Little Girls in Blue Liz Charters
1952 Skirts Ahoy! Una Yancy
1953 Main Street to Broadway Vivian Blaine Uncredited
1955 Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
1957 Public Pigeon No. 1 Rita DeLacey
1972 Richard Washington Doctor
1979 The Dark Courtney Floyd
1982 Parasite Miss Elizabeth Daley
1983 I'm Going to Be Famous Laura Lowell

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1953 The Philco Television Playhouse Episode - "Double Jeopardy"
1954 Center Stage Episode - "Heart of a Clown"
1954 The Colgate Comedy Hour Winnie Potter Episode - "Let's Face It"
1955 Damon Runyon Theater Cutie Singleton Episode - "Pick the Winner"
1955 Hallmark Hall of Fame Georgina Allerton Episode - "Dream Girl"
1955 What's My Line? Mystery Guest
1956 The Bob Hope Show Episode - "The Awful Truth"
1956 General Electric Summer Originals Episode - "It's Sunny Again"
1957 Lux Video Theatre Coral Episode - "The Undesirable"
1963 Route 66 Dixie Martin Episode - "A Bunch of Lonely Pagliaccis"
1976 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Betty McCullough 21 episodes
1978 Fantasy Island Mrs. Deverse Episode - "The Big Dipper/The Pirate"
1978 Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold Marietta Cutler TV movie
1978 The Love Boat Barbara Sharp Episode - "The Minister and the Stripper"
1979 Vega$ Lenora Episode - "Everything I Touch"
1979 The Cracker Factory Helen TV movie
1979 Fast Friends Sylvia TV movie
1979 Sooner or Later Make-up Artist TV movie
1979 CHiPs Vivian Blaine Episode - "Roller Disco: Part 2"
1983 Amanda's Aunt Sonia Episode - "Aunt Sonia"
1985 Murder, She Wrote Rita Bristol Episode - "Broadway Malady"

Stage work[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census
  2. ^ U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
  3. ^ Grimes, William. "Vivian Blaine, the First Adelaide In 'Guys and Dolls,' Is Dead at 74", The New York Times, December 14, 1995. Accessed December 19, 2019. "Ms. Blaine was born in Newark. Originally her last name was Stapleton. While she was still in elementary school, her father, a theatrical agent, booked $1-a-night singing dates for her at nightclubs, company parties and police benefits. At 14 she began singing with the Halsey Miller Orchestra, and after graduating from Southside High School went on the road with little-known bands."
  4. ^ Lewis, Jerry; Kaplan, James (2007). Dean and Me: (A Love Story). Crown/Archetype. ISBN 9780307423559. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "Vivian Blaine - About This Person - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2008. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  6. ^ "Vivian Blaine - Live In Hollywood (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Vivian Blaine Singing Selections From Pal Joey/Annie Get Your Gun: Vivian Blaine: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "VIVIAN BLAINE - Sings Songs from The Ziegfeld Follies & The Great White Way (SEPIA 1106)". Sepiarecords.com. February 12, 2008. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  9. ^ "Vivian Blaine, Broadway Star of 'Guys and Dolls', dies at 74". Bangor Daily News. December 15, 1995. Retrieved February 26, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Oderman, Stuart, Talking to the Piano Player 2. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 1-59393-320-7

External links[edit]