Bill Lee (singer)

Bill Lee (21 August 1916 – 15 November 1980) was an American playback singer who provided a voice or singing voice in many films, for actors in musicals and for many Disneycharacters. He was born in Johnson, Nebraska, and died in 1980 in Los Angeles,California, of a brain tumor.
Lee was part of a popular singing quartet known as The Mellomen. In The Jungle Book's soundtrack, it was mistaken that fellow Melloman member, Thurl Ravenscroft, provided the singing voice of Shere Khan in the song, "That's What Friends Are For". However, Richard Sherman confirmed on the audio commentary on its 2007 DVD release, that it was Lee who provided Shere Khan's singing as George Sanders, Khan's voice actor and singer in the film itself, though an accomplished singer, was not available during the finalized recording of the song.
Lee also provided the singing voice for Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music.

Partial filmography
Alice in Wonderland (1951) - a member of The Mellomen
Peter Pan (1953) - Pirates (singing voice)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) - Caleb Pontipee (singing voice)
Lady and the Tramp (1955) - Dog, as a member of The Mellomen
South Pacific (1958) - Lieutenant Joseph Cable (singing voice)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) - Roger (singing voice)
Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961) - Quatro/Prince Charming (singing voice)
Gay Purr-ee (1962) - Hench Cat (singing voice)
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! (1964) - Yogi Bear (singing voice)
Mary Poppins (1964) - Ram (singing voice)
Cinderella (1965) - Father
Tom and Jerry (1965–1972) - uncredited voice
The Sound of Music (1965) - Captain von Trapp (singing voice)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) - Trevor Graydon (singing voice) (uncredited)
The Jungle Book (1967) - Singing elephant, Shere Khan (singing voice)
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day - singing "Heffalumps and Woozles" (Mellomen)
Horton Hears a Who! (1971) - Wickersham Brother (singing voice)
The Hobbit (1977) - Goblin (singing voice)
Bill Lee

 
Bill Lee in Cinderella (1965)
Born August 21, 1916
Johnson, Nebraska
Died November 15, 1980 (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California
Cause of death Brain tumor
Occupation Playback singer

The Mellomen
The Mellomen were a popular singing quartet active from the late 1940s through the mid-1970s. The group was founded by Thurl Ravenscroft and Max Smith in 1948. The Mellomen recorded under a variety of names, including Big John & The Buzzards, The Crackerjacks, The Lee Brothers, and The Ravenscroft Quartet. They were sometimes credited as The Mellowmen, The Mello Men, or The Mellow Men. They sang backup to some of the best-known artists of the day, including Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Arlo Guthrie, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, and Jo Stafford.
In addition to backing up popular singers, their solo work is part of many Disney films such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp and The Jungle Book as well as numerous animated shorts, including Trick or Treat (1952), Pigs is Pigs (1954), Paul Bunyan (1958), and Noah's Ark (1959). Their work for Disney also led to numerous television appearances, beginning with theDisneyland television show episode Cavalcade of Songs, originally broadcast February 16, 1955. The Mellomen were also featured frequently on Disneyland Records, which released their 1958 album Meet Me Down on Main Street. They also sang "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" theme and the introduction of Zorro. Henry Calvin, who portrayed Sergeant Garcia on that television series, also sang and released a version of the "Zorro" theme song. (A longer version of the Zorro Theme, recorded by the female trio, The Chordettes, became a Top Ten hit). This quartet performed singing voices for the elephants along with James Patrick O'Malley in The Jungle Book.
They sang on several films with Elvis Presley, beginning with It Happened at the World's Fair. Elvis wanted the Jordanaires to perform for the film but they were unavailable, so The Mellomen were called in to sing One Broken Heart For Sale and Cotton Candy Land. The Mellomen later backed up Elvis on the title song for the film Roustabout as well as on most of the sound track for Paradise, Hawaiian Style. In 1969, The Mellomen appeared with Elvis in the film The Trouble with Girls, as a gospel group called The Bible Singers.

Members
The members of the Mellomen were

Thurl Ravenscroft (bass)
Bill Lee (baritone bass)
Max Smith (2nd tenor, 1948–1966)
Bob Hamlin (lead tenor, 1948–1955)
Bob Stevens (lead tenor, 1955–1961)
Bill Cole (lead tenor, 1961-1970s)
Gene Merlino (2nd tenor, 1966-1970s)

The Mello Men (1962 - 1965)
Thurl Ravenscroft - bass
Max Smith - tenor (retired in 1966, replaced by Gene Merlino)
Gene Merlino - tenor (1966 - 1972?)
Bill Lee - baritone
Bob Hamlin - lead tenor (until 1955, left the group)
Bob Stevens - lead tenor (1955 - 1961, Bob died in 1961 and was replaced by Bill Cole)
Bill Cole - lead tenor (1962 - 1972?)
This group backed up Elvis on the soundtrack session for It Happened At The World's Fair in October 1962. They can also be seen in the film, during the performance of "One Broken Heart For Sale". They also provided backing on the title song to the filmRoustabout, recorded in March 1964, as well as the entire session for the soundtrack ofParadise Hawaiian Style, in July and August of 1965. Much more info on the Mello Men is available at the Thurl Ravenscroft site above (which now has a separate Mello Men page), as well as some interesting sound clips. There is a photo of the group on the Thurl Ravenscroft in Music page. Tom Wagner, who corrected me on some details (thanks, Tom), says his sister is writing a book on the Sportsmen Quartet, and since some of the members of that group became members of The Mellomen, they will be prominently featured in her book.


The Mellomen with Elvis and actor Guy Raymond

Marni Nixon

Marni Nixon (born February 22, 1930) is an American soprano and playback singer for featured actresses in movie musicals. She is most famous for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including The King and I, West Side Story and My Fair Lady.
Nixon's varied career has included, besides her voice work in films, some film roles of her own, television, opera, concerts with major symphony orchestras around the world,musicals on stage throughout the United States and recordings

Early life

Born Margaret Nixon McEathron in Altadena, California, to Charles Nixon and Margaret Elsa (née Wittke) McEathron, Nixon was a child actress and also began singing at an early age in choruses, including performing solos with the Roger Wagner Chorale.[1]
She went on to study singing and opera with Thomas Noble MacBurney, Carl Ebert, Jan Popper, Boris Goldovsky and Sarah Caldwell.

Opera and concert work
Nixon's opera repertory includes Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, both Blonde and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Violetta in La traviata, the title role in La Périchole and Philine in Mignon. Her opera credits include performances at Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Tanglewood Festival among others. In addition to giving recitals, she appeared as an oratorio and concert soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra among others.

Marni Nixon

 
Marni Nixon, following a performance at the Metropolitan Room, New York City, 2009
Born February 22, 1930 (age 83)
Altadena, California, United States
Spouse(s) Ernest Gold (m. 1950–1969)
Lajos Frederick Fenster
(m. 1971–1975)
Albert Block (m. 1983–present)
Children Andrew Gold (1951–2011)
Martha Gold (b. 1953)
Melani Gold (b. 1962)

Films and musicals

Nixon's career on film started in 1948 when she sang the voices of the angels heard by Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948). The next year, she did her first dubbing work when she provided Margaret O'Brien's singing voice in 1949's The Secret Garden. She also dubbedMarilyn Monroe's high notes in Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). She appeared on Broadway in 1954 in The Girl in Pink Tights.
In 1956, she worked closely with Deborah Kerr to supply the star's singing voice for the film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I, and the next year she again worked with Kerr to dub her voice in An Affair to Remember. In 1961's West Side Story, the studio kept her work on the film (as the singing voice of Natalie Wood's Maria) a secret from the actress, and Nixon also dubbed Rita Moreno's singing in the film's "Tonight" quintet. She asked the film's producers for, but did not receive, any direct royalties from her work on the film, but Leonard Bernstein contractually gave her 1/4 of one percent of his personal royalties from it. For My Fair Lady in 1964, she again worked with the female lead of the film, Audrey Hepburn, to perform the songs of Hepburn's character Eliza. Because of her uncredited dubbing work in these films, Time magazine called her "The Ghostess with the Mostest".
Nixon made a special guest appearance on Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts broadcast that aired April 9, 1961, entitled "Folk Music in the Concert Hall." She sang three "Songs of the Auvergne" by Canteloube.[citation needed] Under her own name, she has recorded songs by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Arnold Schönberg, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Anton Webern. Nixon was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Performance, Vocal Soloist, one for her Schönberg album and one for her Copland album.
Nixon's first onscreen appearance was as Sister Sophia in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. In the DVD commentary to the film, director Robert Wise comments that audiences were finally able to see the woman whose voice they knew so well.After this, Nixon concentrated on concert work.

Later work

Nixon taught at the California Institute of Arts from 1969 to 1971 and joined the faculty of the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, in 1980, where she taught for many years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she hosted a children's television show inSeattle on KOMO-TV channel 4 called Boomerang, winning four Emmy Awards as best actress, and made numerous other television appearances on variety shows and as a guest star in prime time series. She also toured with Liberace and Victor Borge and in her own cabaret shows. On stage, she originated the role of Sadie McKibben in Opal, and in 1984, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for originating the role of Edna Off-Broadway in Taking My Turn, composed by Gary William Friedman. In the 1998 Disneyfilm Mulan, Nixon sang the role of "Grandmother Fa". In regional theatre and Off-Broadway, she played Nurse in Romeo & Juliet and Fraulien Schneider in Cabaret and Eunice Miller in 70, Girls, 70. She had a 1997 film role as Aunt Alice in I Think I Do. In 1999, she originated the role of Mrs. Wilson in the premiere of Ballymore, an opera by Richard Wargo at Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was taped for PBS. She also continued to teach voice and judge vocal competitions.
In 2000, after nearly a half century away, she returned to Broadway as Aunt Kate in James Joyce's The Dead. In 2001, Nixon replaced Joan Roberts as Heidi Schiller in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. In 2003, she was again on Broadway as a replacement in role of Guido's mother in the revival of Nine. Her autobiography, I Could Have Sung All Night, was published in 2006. She performed in the 2008 North American Tour of Cameron Mackintosh's U.K. revival of My Fair Lady in the role of Mrs. Higgins.

Family and honors

The first of her three husbands, Ernest Gold, composed the theme song to the movie Exodus. They had three children, including singer/songwriter Andrew Gold (died June 3, 2011). They divorced in 1969. She was married to Dr. Lajos "Fritz" Fenster from 1971 to 1975, and then to Albert Block in 1983.[citation needed]
On October 27, 2008, Nixon was presented with the Singer Symposium's Distinguished Artist Award in New York City. She is also an Honorary Member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Women's Music Fraternity.