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Mitzi Gaynor

2017 New Standard Award


Mitzi Gaynor's Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated career as a dancer, singer and actress includes acclaimed performances in film, on stage and on television. Her iconic performances as Nellie Forbush in the blockbuster 1958 film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. The multimillion-selling soundtrack, featurin her performances of "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" and "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" has never gone out of print. The album still ranks fourth in its tenure at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart - 31 weeks, tied with Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and just behind Michael Jackson's Thriller.


Gaynor began her storied career at age 13, entertaining military personnel on the USO circuit, and made her Broadway debut in GYPSY LADY in 1946. She transitioned to films in 1950 at age 19 and appeared in some of the most beloved film musicals of Hollywood's Golden Age. She introduced original songs by Harold Arlen in her first film My Blue Heaven and by Irving Berlin in There's No Business Like Show Business. Other films included The Joker is Wild, Golden Girl, The I Don't Care Girl and Cole Porter's Les Girls and Anything Goes. She conquered television with her annual high-concept network variety specials, drawing 30 million viewers each and garnering 17 Emmy nominations and six Emmy wins.


Gaynor took the world by storm in 1961 at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel, breaking all box office records and becoming the city's highest-paid female entertainer. Her innovative, character-driven, Broadway-style extravaganzas remained a top attraction in theaters and nightclubs across North America for nearly 50 years and set the standard for many female entertainers to follow.


To learn more about Mitzi Gaynor's career visit


In the Archives with Micahel Feinstein and Mitzi Gaynor


Join Michael for an episode of the Songbook Foundation's ever-popular In the Archives web series as he explores a few of the musical arrangements and materials donated personally by Mitzi Gaynor, including her arrangement of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and a custom lyric sheet given to Mitzi by Ira Gershwin for her albums with Verve Records. In addition to the behind-the-scenes look in the Songbook Archives, enjoy an exclusive replay of excerpts of an interview with Mitzi from her 2017 Hall of Fame induction.