Family & Companions
This Broadway singing giant ("Girl Crazy," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Gypsy") had a brassy, larger-than-life star persona and a uniquely powerful, heart-felt voice and popularized songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, among others. Merman's belt-it-out rendition of Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business" has become the anthem of the entertainment industry. In occasional films from 1930, Merman undeniably brightened a number of features, several of which, like "Anything Goes" 1936, "Call Me Madam" 1953 and "There's No Business Like Show Business" 1954, were full-fledged star vehicles.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Obtained letter of introduction to producer George White from her employer; White subsequently offered Merman a chorus role which she declined (date approximate)
Signed to 9 year contract by agent Lon Irwin (date approximate)
Signed 6 month contract with Warner Bros.; made film debut in short subject in nonspeaking role (date approximate)
Adopted surname of Merman
Broadway debut in Gershwin's "Girl Crazy"; introduced "I Got Rhythm" and other songs
Appeared in George White's "Scandals" and introduced song, "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries"
Appeared as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" on Broadway
First full-length feature appearance, "We're Not Dressing" opposite Bing Crosby
Radio series debut with the weekly "The Ethel Merman Show"
Appeared in film version of "Anything Goes"
Starred on Broadway in "Panama Hattie"
Played Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin's "Annie, Get Your Gun"
Broadway appearance in "Call Me Madam"
First film in 10 years, "Call Me Madam"
Signature role of Mama Rose in stage version of "Gypsy"
Final stage appearance "Hello, Dolly!"; the play had been originally created with her in mind but she turned down the role; finally played Dolly on Broadway after Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable and Phyllis Diller had played it
Last film role, a cameo in "Airplane!"