At this point, I’d like to stop and momentarily sing praises to the late goddess who was Marni Nixon. Here’s the thing. If you know anything about Audrey, you probably know that she had a fairly pleasant singing voice (she does her own singing in Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s and she’s no Shirley Jones, but she’s also not half bad). If you’re aware of all that, you may also know the legend about the only time Audrey ever got even remotely upset while on the job, which was on the set of My Fair Lady, the day the directors informed her that her singing just wasn’t up to par and that her parts would be dubbed over (she supposedly got very quiet after that and left without saying anything. That was it. That was Audrey getting mad). What I learned about Audrey’s voice after watching all of her movies is that if you close your eyes and listen to all the little sounds she makes—laughs and yelps and gasps and whatnot—she sounds EXACTLY like a Mii.
Aaaaanyways. The lovely little lady who dubbed over Audrey’s parts in My Fair Lady was none other than Marni Nixon, one of Hollywood’s greatest voice actresses. Here’s where the plot thickens: the role of Maria in West Side Story was originally offered to Audrey Hepburn (yes, Maria is supposed to be Latina; yes, Audrey Hepburn was a pasty white European; yes, Audrey was also cast as a Native American in The Unforgiven; no, political correctness wasn’t posh back then) and GUESS WHO ALSO DUBBED MARIA AND ANITA’S SINGING for the actresses who did eventually get cast (Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, respectively)? That’s right, our girl Marni Nixon. But the goddess’s career as an iconic ghost singer didn’t stop there—she also dubbed songs for Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Deborah Kerr in The King and I and An Affair to Remember, sang the part of the grandma in Mulan, AND she was one of the singing nuns in The Sound of Music. I have no words.
But I digress. This movie is a must-see, my dears. Even though the character of Henry Higgins drives me completely bonkers and I’m still mad that Freddy and his fantastic jawline never get the time of day (although they do in the original play, Pygmalion, thank goodness), the music is just so delightful. I can’t even choose a favorite song (but if I had to, “Show Me” and “Why Can’t the English Learn to Speak” would definitely be the top contenders).