Mitzi Gaynor made a name for herself when appearing in movies throughout the 1940s and ’50s, then impressed the TV world. In her movie career, Gaynor famously played Ensign Nellie Forbush in the movie production of South Pacific. She sang “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”
Would you believe that at 92 years old, Mitzi Gaynor is still going strong? She is indeed.
By the time South Pacific rolled around, though, Gaynor was finishing her film career. South Pacific brought her a nomination for a Golden Globes Award. She had taken dancing lessons since she was a child. Once her family moved from Detroit to Los Angeles, Mitzi Gaynor found herself as part of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company.
Mitzi Gaynor Gets Deal With 20th Century Fox
Then a 20th Century Fox talent scout discovered her and secured Mitzi Gaynor with a seven-year contract. She went on to star in such movies as Golden Girl, Down Under the Sweltering Palms, and The I Don’t Care Girl.
A couple of other ones to note are Bloodhounds of Broadway and There’s No Business Like Show Business. She ended up being set behind some heavy-hitting stars for There’s No Business Like Show Business, names like Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Dan Dailey, and Donald O’Connor.
Fox did not renew Mitzi Gaynor’s contract, which made her a free agent. She had some downtime in 1954, when Fox got rid of her. She met talent agent Jack Bean and got married in 1954. Mitzi Gaynor and Jack Bean did not have any children in their marriage. Bean left working for MCA and set up his talent agency named Bean & Rose, spending lots of time focusing on Gaynor’s career.
Paramount picked Mitzi Gaynor up and made three films there. Among them was The Joker Is Wild, in which Frank Sinatra starred as comedian Joe E. Brown. She appeared as Brown’s wife, who was a chorus girl. She followed that up with Les Girls, again playing a chorus girl. Both of those movies came out in 1957.
Actress Shifted Career to TV, Las Vegas
Mizi Gaynor, though, was wrapping up her film career. She didn’t do many more of them after South Pacific. But she didn’t fall out of the limelight at all. Gaynor made some sporadic appearances on variety shows like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
In 1966, Mitzi Gaynor appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show from Miami Beach. Her segment was bracketed by two sets from The Beatles during their second appearance on the show. In 1967, Gaynor popped up on the Oscars telecast and sang and danced her way through Georgy Girl. The audience roared their approval of Gaynor’s effort.
What Mitzi Gaynor spent a lot of her time on in the 1970s and ’80s was her Las Vegas act. She appeared at numerous hotels there, using her singing and dancing talent as part of her act. Gaynor also hosted a series of TV specials in the 1970s. For her body of work, Gaynor received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Gaynor even worked as a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter.
Bean died of pneumonia at their Beverly Hill estate in 2006. He was 84 years old. Jack Bean and Mitzi Gaynor were married for 52 years. Once he died, Gaynor did not remarry.
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