Vivian Blaine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vivian Blaine
Vivian Blaine in Something for the Boys.jpg
Vivian Blaine in Something for the Boys (1944)
Born Vivian Stapleton
(1921-11-21)November 21, 1921
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Died December 9, 1995(1995-12-09) (aged 74)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death congestive heart failure
Resting place Kensico Cemetery
Years active 1937–1985
Spouse(s) Manny Franks (m.1945–1956; divorced)
Milton Rackmil (m.1959–61; divorced)
Stuart Clark (m.1973–95; her death)

Vivian Blaine (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]

She was born Vivian Stapleton, 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.

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: "[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 ..."[3]


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


Following her Fox years, Blaine returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut in the Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls in 1950. Her character Adelaide has been engaged to inveterate gambler Nathan Detroit 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 run on Broadway, she reprised the role in London's West End in 1953, and then on film 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 such musicals as Gypsy.


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.[4] On the 25th annual Tony Awards in 1971, she appeared as a guest performer and sang "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls, providing a visual recording of the performance for posterity.[5]

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]


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


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



Stage work[edit]


  1. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census
  2. ^ U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
  3. ^ Lewis, Jerry; Kaplan, James (2007). Dean and Me: (A Love Story). Crown/Archetype. ISBN 9780307423559. Retrieved 9 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Vivian Blaine - About This Person - Movies & TV -". 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  5. ^ The 25th Annual Tony Awards (1971) at Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Vivian Blaine - Live In Hollywood (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Vivian Blaine Singing Selections From Pal Joey/Annie Get Your Gun: Vivian Blaine: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  8. ^ "VIVIAN BLAINE - Sings Songs from The Ziegfeld Follies & The Great White Way (SEPIA 1106)". 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  9. ^ "Vivian Blaine, Broadway Star of 'Guys and Dolls', dies at 74". Bangor Daily News. 1995-12-15. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]