Blaine, Vivian, 1921-1995.
Billy Rose Theatre Division
- 14 linear feet (18 boxes )
Collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required.
The Vivian Blaine papers contain personal correspondence, between Blaine and various friends and colleagues, including Oscar Hammerstein II, Stubby Kaye, Bert Lahr, Dean Martin, Harold Prince, Richard Rodgers, Dianah Shore,Phil Silvers, and Jule Styne. The collection also includessome other personal items, such as album covers, materialsfrom her fan club, contracts, and hand-written recipes. It does not, however, include extensive material relating to Blaine's private life or three marriages (Manny Frank, Milton Rackmill, and Stuart Clark). The collection mainly consists of professional files relating to Blaine's career in films and theater. The collection includes awards, photographs, press and publicity materials, programs, scripts, and scores. The strengths ofthis collection are its extensive documentation of Blaine's early career through numerous photographs and press clippings, including many newspaper and magazine articles profiling Blaine, and its coverage of her later career in stock, regional, and touring theater productionsof such shows as Brothers and Sisters, Follies, Hello, Dolly!, How the Other Half Loves and Last of the Red Hot Lovers. The majority of the materials in this collection are from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, though it includes materials from 1916 through 1995.
Although she appeared in nightclubs, film, television, andtheater from the late 1930s through the mid 1980s, singer and actress, Vivian Blaine (1921-1995), is best rememberedfor having originated the role of Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls (1950). Born Vivian Stapleton in Newark, New Jersey, Blaine was exposed to the word of show business atan early age through her father, Lionel Stapleton, a theatrical booking agent. She attended the Academy of Dramatic Art at age twelve, and, by fourteen, she was working as a big band singer in nightclubs in New Jersey and New York. During her early singing career, she tried out a series of stage names, finally settling on Vivian Blaine. Blaine was spotted by a talent scout from 20th Century Fox Motion Picture Studio, who signed to her firstfilm contract. After playing a series of minor roles, Blaine filled in for Alice Faye in a starring role in Greenwich Village (1944). Although she continued to have starring roles in such films as Doll Face (1945) and StateFair (1945), Blaine became frustrated with the progress ofher film career and she decided to buy up her contract from Fox. She moved back to New York, where she booked nightclub singing and touring theater engagements. After Blaine had been back in New York for a few years, she was cast as Miss Adelaide, the nasal-voiced, long-suffering fiancé of gambler Nathan Detroit in Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls. For this role, she won the Donaldson Award for Best Debut Performance by an Actress. Blaine went on to recreate her performance in the London production, the 1955 film version, and various revivals. After her stage triumph in Guys and Dolls, Blaine made a few unsuccessful attempts to reestablish a film career with Skirts Ahoy (1952) and Public Pigeon No. 1 (1957) and she worked steadily in television and as a recording artist during the 1950s. However, in the latter part of her career, she primarily worked in theater. Blaine made her first foray into serious acting when she replaced Shelley Winters in AHatful of Rain in 1954. She originated starring roles in the Jule Styne/Comden & Green musical, Say, Darling (1958),and the comedy, Enter Laughing (1963). From the 1960s through the early 1980s, Blaine continued to perform in many touring, regional, and stock productions and also didoccasional work on film and television projects. Blaine retired from performing in 1985.
Controlled Access Terms
- Blaine, Vivian, 1921-1995.
- Hammerstein, Oscar, 1895-1960 -- Correspondence.
- Kaye, Stubby -- Correspondence.
- Lahr, Bert, 1895-1967 -- Correspondence.
- Martin, Dean, 1917-1995 -- Correspondence.
- Prince, Harold, 1928- -- Correspondence.
- Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979 -- Correspondence.
- Shore, Dinah, 1917-1994 -- Correspondence.
- Silvers, Phil, 1911-1985 -- Correspondence.
- Stapleton, Lionel -- Correspondence.
- Styne, Jule, 1905-1994 -- Correspondence.
- Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States.
- Women singers -- United States.
- Record covers.
- Scripts (documents)
- Motion picture actors and actresses.
- Women singers.
Additional Creator Names
- Hammerstein, Oscar, 1895-1960.
- Kaye, Stubby.
- Lahr, Bert, 1895-1967.
- Martin, Dean, 1917-1995.
- Prince, Harold, 1928-
- Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979.
- Shore, Dinah, 1917-1994.
- Silvers, Phil, 1911-1985.
- Stapleton, Lionel.
- Styne, Jule, 1905-1994.
- Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.