The star of the musical 'Annie Get Your Gun' (1946) who has been called 'the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage'.
Ethel Agnes Zimmerman
January 16, 1909
February 15, 1984
New York, New York
Ethel Merman gained recognition as ‘the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage’. She received widespread attention for her belting mezzo-soprano voice and unique style. Among her many famous performances were in the Broadway musicals ‘Girl Crazy’ (1930), ‘Gypsy’ (1959), and ‘Anything Goes’ (1934).
She reckoned that her name Ethel Zimmermann was too lengthy for the theater marquee that she opted to combine her with her grandmother’s maiden name, Gardner or Hunter. To the dismay of her father, she ended up abbreviating Zimmerman to Merman.
She died 10 months after her diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma, said to be the most aggressive brain cancer. When she died at aged 76, all the 36 Broadway theatres dimmed their light at 9pm to honor her passing.