Mary Martin Biography

(Actress, Singer)

Birthday: December 1, 1913 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Weatherford, Texas, U.S.

Mary Martin was originally a dance instructor when she made it to Broadway. Her acting career took off when she began appearing in a number of Broadway productions. She starred in a number of Hollywood musicals and is best-known for her roles in the stage productions, ‘South Pacific’, ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘The Sound of Music’. She catapulted to international fame after her famous interpretation of ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’ in the Cole Porter musical, ‘Leave It to Me’. Her stage presence and courageous antics on stage such as flying from suspended cables, earned her a permanent spot in Broadway. She was then signed on by Paramount Pictures for ten films. Some of her well-known films include, ‘Love Thy Neighbor’, ‘Kiss the Boys Goodbye’ ‘Night and Day’ and ‘Main Street to Broadway’. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious ‘Tony Award’. Career apart, she married very young and had a son from her alliance. Her son was also an actor, who made it big on television.
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Audition Mary

Also Known As: Mary Virginia Martin

Died At Age: 76


Spouse/Ex-: Benjamin Jackson

father: Preston Martin

mother: Juanita Presley

siblings: Geraldine

children: Heller Halliday, Larry Hagman

Singers Actresses

Died on: November 3, 1990

place of death: Rancho Mirage, California

U.S. State: Texas

More Facts

education: Ward-Belmont

  • 1

    What are some notable roles played by Mary Martin?

    Some of the notable roles played by Mary Martin include Maria in "The Sound of Music," Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific," and Peter Pan in "Peter Pan."
  • 2

    Did Mary Martin receive any critical acclaim for her performances?

    Yes, Mary Martin received critical acclaim for her performances, particularly for her portrayal of Peter Pan on Broadway.
  • 3

    How did Mary Martin contribute to the Broadway musical theater scene?

    Mary Martin is considered a pioneer in the Broadway musical theater scene for her iconic performances and contributions to classic musicals.
  • 4

    Was Mary Martin known for her vocal talents?

    Yes, Mary Martin was known for her exceptional vocal talents, which she showcased in her various Broadway performances.
  • 5

    Did Mary Martin have a lasting impact on the world of musical theater?

    Yes, Mary Martin had a lasting impact on the world of musical theater through her iconic performances and contributions to the art form.
Childhood & Early Life
Mary Virginia Martin was born on December 1, 1913 to Preston Martin and Juanita Presley in Weatherford, Texas. She led a comfortable and happy childhood with her parents, who were extremely fond of her.
From a very young age, Martin was extremely talented at mimicking others and grew up like a tomboy. She would often climb trees along with her elder sister Geraldine or ride ponies to keep themselves occupied.
Her first public appearance was when she sang at a pavilion with two other girls, dressed in bellhop dresses. She was gifted with a graphic memory as a child and as a result, could memorize songs, mimicry or even acting.
When she was a teenager, she decided to get married and was forced to leave finishing school in Ward-Belmont, because she became pregnant.
Scared that she had made the wrong decision about getting married young, she looked for a way to vent her feelings, which she found through dance. It is believed that her sister was the first person who taught her how to dance the waltz clog.
Soon afterwards, she opened her own dance studio, where she fashioned her own moves or by emulating the other famous dancers that she had seen in movies.
In a bizarre incident, her dance studio was burnt down by a man who believed ‘dancing was a sin’. She looked to her father for advice who suggested her to go through a divorce, following which she left for Hollywood, leaving even her son behind.
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In Hollywood, she attended a number of auditions which earned her the nickname, ‘Audition Mary’. At one of the auditions, Oscar Hammerstein II noticed her singing talent and immediately became the face behind launching her Broadway career.
Her first job was singing on radio in Dallas and in nightclubs in Los Angeles.
She made her Broadway debut with Cole Porter’s ‘Leave It to Me!’ in 1938. In the production, she sang, ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’, which made her an overnight star. The same year, she debuted with a motion picture, ‘The Rage of Paris’.
From 1940 to 1943 she starred in a range of movies including, ‘Love Thy Neighbor’, ‘Kiss the Boys Goodbye’, ‘New York Town’, ‘Birth of the Blues’, ‘Star Spangles Rhythm’ and ‘Happy Go Lucky’.
From 1943 to 1948, she appeared in multifarious theatre productions including ‘One Touch of Venus’, ‘Pacific 1860’, ‘Lute Song’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’.
In 1949, she appeared as the nurse, Nellie Forbush in the Broadway production, ‘South Pacific’, for which she earned a special award. She headlined in the West End production on November 1st, two years later.
In 1953, she appeared in her last film, ‘Main Street to Broadway’. Possibly one of her greatest successes came when she was cast as the title character in the Broadway production of ‘Peter Pan’ in 1954. To do full justice to her role, she had to do some of the stunts herself, including flying with suspended ropes.
In 1955, Martin was seen in ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’, which was followed by ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ once again, which ran for 10 weeks in Los Angeles. Two years later she was seen in the television series, ‘Annie Get Your Gun’.
In 1960, she was seen in the television version of ‘Peter Pan’ after which she appeared in ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Clairol’ two years later.
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In 1966, she appeared on Broadway in the two-person musical, ‘I Do! I Do!’ alongside Robert Preston. She was once again nominated for an important award for her performance. Two years later, she prepared to embark on a national tour, which was cancelled due to illness.
From 1972 to 1978, she appeared in the productions, ‘A Celebration of Richard Rodgers’ and ‘Do You Turn Somersaults?’. The next year, she appeared on the television show, ‘Valentine’.
She was seen in her last public theater performance in ‘Legends’, in 1985. Around the same time, she was seen in ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of American Music’, a television series.
Major Works
One of her greatest achievements was playing the title character in the theatre production, ‘Peter Pan’, in 1954. She won a Tony Award for her performance as the lead character, ‘Peter Pan’. She even reprised her role for the television adaptation of the same, in 1960.
Awards & Achievements
She was presented the Donaldson Award for ‘One Touch of Venus’, in 1943.
She was honored with a New York Film Critics Circle Award for ‘One Touch of Venus’, in 1943.
In 1948, she was conferred a Tony Award for ‘spreading theatre to the rest of the country while the originals perform in New York’.
In 1955, she received a Tony Award for her role as ‘Peter Pan’ in the theatre production of the same name.
In 1956, she received an Emmy Award for the television adaptation of ‘Peter Pan’.
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She received a Tony Award for ‘The Sound of Music’, in 1959.
She received Kennedy Center Honors for career achievements in 1989.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married Benjamin Hagman in 1930 at the age of 17 and the couple had a child, Larry Hagman. Since she was young and naïve, she didn’t fully understand and enjoy the responsibilities of being a wife. The couple separated in 1936.
She married Richard Halliday in 1940 and they remained married till his death in 1973.
In 1982, she met with a tragic accident which resulted in two of her ribs being fractured, a punctured lung and a fractured pelvis. One person travelling along with them died on the spot and the other died two years later after suffering from complications from the accident.
She passed away due to colorectal cancer and is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Texas.
Facts About Mary Martin
Mary Martin was known for her love of animals and often volunteered at animal shelters in her spare time.
She had a unique talent for imitating various accents and dialects, which helped her bring characters to life on stage.
Mary Martin was an avid gardener and found solace in tending to her plants and flowers between performances.
She had a great sense of humor and was known for playing practical jokes on her colleagues and friends.
Mary Martin was a dedicated philanthropist, supporting numerous charitable causes throughout her career.


Primetime Emmy Awards
1956 Best Actress - Single Performance Producers' Showcase (1954)
Grammy Awards
1961 Best Show Album (Original Cast) Winner
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