Vivian Blaine

(1921 - 1995)

A photo of Vivian Blaine
Vivian Blaine
1921 - 1995
November 21, 1921
December 1995
Last Known Residence
New York, New York County, New York 10016
Vivian Blaine was born on November 21, 1921. She died in December 1995 at age 74. We know that Vivian Blaine had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10016.
Updated: September 18, 2019
Vivian Blaine
Born November 21, 1921 in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Died December 9, 1995 in New York City, New York, USA (congestive heart failure)
Birth Name Vivian Stapleton
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)
Ms. Blaine is most noted for having portrayed Miss Adelaide, the long-suffering, perpetually engaged chorus girl, in the Broadway and film versions of Guys and Dolls (1955). She originated the role in 1950 on Broadway and stopped the show each night with her rendition of "Adelaide's Lament," in which she complains about having a bad cold because of her long engagement to gambler Nathan Detroit. Ms. Blaine also originated roles on Broadway in "Say Darling" and "Enter Laughing." She also starred on Broadway in "Hatful of Rain," "Company," and, briefly, in "Zorba." She starred in many national tours, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Don't Drink the Water," "Hello Dolly," and "Gypsy." Before going to Broadway, Ms. Blaine was a starlet at 20th Century-Fox, appearing in many musical comedy films, including Jitterbugs (1943), Greenwich Village (1944), and State Fair (1945). In the mid 1950s, Ms. Blaine reprised her role as Adelaide in the film version of Guys and Dolls (1955) with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. After her Broadway appearance in "Company" in 1972, she appeared on national television at the 25th Tony anniversary special. This led to a revival of her TV career, and she continued to appear in guest roles on TV and in independent films and theater until her retirement in 1984.
Vivian Blaine was represented.managed by Robert Cipriano and Capri Productions Limited, along with L'Etoile Talent Agency in the early 1980s. Robert Cipriano took a special interest in Vivian assisting her to book performances throughout NYC and Atlantic City/Las Vegas. Vivian Blaine was heard saying that Robert Cipriano reminded her of her first husband Manny Franks.
Stuart Clark (21 December 1973 - 9 December 1995) ( her death)
Milton Rackmil (9 May 1959 - 25 July 1961) ( divorced)
Manny Franks (10 January 1945 - 10 December 1956) ( divorced)
At 20th Century Fox, she was known as the cherry blonde because of her extraordinary hair color as shown in Technicolor.
A clothes horse involved in the apparel industry, she appeared on many "Best Dressed Women in America" lists from 1973 to 1983.
For her starring role in Guys and Dolls (1955), Ms. Blaine won a Donaldson award for best newcomer of the year.
She also won a New York Theater Goers Award for best musical comedy star of the year.
She performed her role in "Guys and Dolls" in London, including a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II.
Later in her career, she was asked to perform at the White House for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
She was given a National Film Society American Classic Award.
From 1973 until 1983, she appeared on many "Best Dressed Women in America" lists.
In 1952, three actresses were included by the Fashion Academy of New York in its list of the eight best-dressed women of America.
Father, Lionel Stapleton, was a singing baritone who made a living as a theatrical booking agent. Her parents divorced when she was quite young.
Married three times. First husband was Manny Franks, her agent, who was 20 years older than she. Second husband was Milton Rachmil, the head of Universal Pictures and Decca Records, who wanted an at-home trophy wife; the marriage didn't last long, also ending in divorce court. Third husband was businessman Stuart Clark, who started to supervise her career and revived it on 1970s TV. He was 13 years her junior.
A prime Fox musical performer during the war and post-war years, she lagged in popularity only to Alice Faye and Betty Grable.
Portrayed Miss Adelaide in the original Broadway stage version of "Guys and Dolls" and reprised her role in the film version (Guys and Dolls (1955)).
"I put all my intelligence, such as it is, into playing dumb blondes."
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Vivian Blaine
Most commonly known name
Vivian Blaine
Full name
Nickname(s) or aliases
New York, New York County, New York 10016
Last known residence
Vivian Blaine was born on
Vivian Blaine died in
Vivian Blaine was born on
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Vivian Blaine in 1946 film Doll Face

Pin-up photo of Vivian Blaine for the September 1, 1944 issue of Yank, the Army Weekly
Year Title Role Notes
1942 It Happened in Flatbush Minor Role
1942 Thru Different Eyes Sue Boardman
1942 Girl Trouble Barbara Alternate titles: Between You and Me / Man from Brazil
1943 He Hired the Boss Sally Conway
1943 Jitterbugs Susan Cowan
1944 Greenwich Village Bonnie Watson
1944 Something for the Boys Blossom Hart
1945 Nob Hill Sally Templeton
1945 State Fair Emily Edwards
1945 Doll Face Mary Elizabeth 'Doll Face' Carroll Alternate title: Come Back to Me
1946 If I'm Lucky Linda Farrell
1946 Three Little Girls in Blue Liz Charters
1952 Skirts Ahoy! Una Yancy
1953 Main Street to Broadway Vivian Blaine Uncredited
1955 Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
1957 Public Pigeon No. 1 Rita DeLacey
1972 Richard Washington Doctor
1979 The Dark Courtney Floyd
1982 Parasite Miss Elizabeth Daley
1983 I'm Going to Be Famous Laura Lowell
Year Title Role Notes
1953 The Philco Television Playhouse Episode - "Double Jeopardy"
1954 Center Stage Episode - "Heart of a Clown"
1954 The Colgate Comedy Hour Winnie Potter Episode - "Let's Face It"
1955 Damon Runyon Theater Cutie Singleton Episode - "Pick the Winner"
1955 Hallmark Hall of Fame Georgina Allerton Episode - "Dream Girl"
1955 ‘’What’s My Line’’ “mystery guest
1956 The Bob Hope Show Episode - "The Awful Truth"
1956 General Electric Summer Originals Episode - "It's Sunny Again"
1957 Lux Video Theatre Coral Episode - "The Undesirable"
1963 Route 66 Dixie Martin Episode - "A Bunch of Lonely Pagliaccis"
1976 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Betty McCullough 21 episodes
1978 Fantasy Island Mrs. Deverse Episode - "The Big Dipper/The Pirate"
1978 Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold Marietta Cutler TV film
1978 The Love Boat Barbara Sharp Episode - "The Minister and the Stripper"
1979 Vega$ Lenora Episode - "Everything I Touch"
1979 The Cracker Factory Helen TV film
1979 Fast Friends Sylvia TV film
1979 Sooner or Later Make-up Artist TV film
1979 CHiPs Vivian Blaine Episode - "Roller Disco: Part 2"
1983 Amanda's Aunt Sonia Episode - "Aunt Sonia"
1985 Murder, She Wrote Rita Bristol Episode - "Broadway Malady" (final appearance)
Stage work
One Touch of Venus (1948)
Bloomer Girl (1949)
Light Up the Sky (1949)
Guys and Dolls (1950–53)
Panama Hattie (1955)
A Hatful of Rain (1956–58)
Rain (1957)
Say, Darling (1958)
Gypsy (1960)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1961)
Born Yesterday (1961)
Gypsy (1962)
Enter Laughing (1963)
Mr. President (1964)
Guys and Dolls (1964-1966)
Never Too Late (1965)
Cactus Flower (1966–67)
Damn Yankees (1967)
Any Wednesday (1968)
Don't Drink the Water (1968–69)
Take Me Along (1968)
The Marriage-Go-Round (1970)
Zorba (1970–71)
Company (1971–73)
Light Up the Sky (1971)
The Glass Menagerie (1972)
Follies (1973)
I Do! I Do! (1973)
Twigs (1973–74)
Hello, Dolly! (1974)
The Best of Everybody (1975)
Brothers and Sisters (1975)
Light Up the Sky (1975)
Almost on a Runway (1976)
How the Other Half Loves (1977)
Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1977–79)
The Boy Friend (1979)
The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1979)
Zorba (1984) (replacement for Lila Kedrova)
Hello, Dolly! (1985)

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Vivian Blaine, the First Adelaide In 'Guys and Dolls,' Is Dead at 74

December 14, 1995
Vivian Blaine, who created the role of the ditsy "well-known fiancee" Miss Adelaide in the original production of "Guys and Dolls," died on Saturday at Beth Israel Medical Center North in Manhattan. She was 74. The cause was congestive heart failure, said Claire Chapman, a friend.
Guys and Dolls," the Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows musical based on stories by Damon Runyon, was the sensation of the 1950 Broadway season, and Ms. Blaine was irresistible as the blond chanteuse at the Hot Box club who was hopelessly engaged to Nathan Detroit (Sam Levene), the operator of the "oldest established permanent floating c*** game in New York."
Ms. Blaine sang "A Bushel and a Peck," "Take Back Your Mink" and "Adelaide's Lament," which with its refrain "a person could develop a cold," routinely brought the house down. "Sung in the squeaky, nasal New Yorkese that characterizes Adelaide, the Lament is an unforgettable show stopper," Collier's magazine wrote in 1951. "Night after night, the house listens to Adelaide's complaints in an exhilarated hush."
In 1941, when she was singing at the Governor Clinton Hotel in Manhattan, her picture appeared in a newspaper, and a talent scout for 20th Century Fox invited her to take a screen test. Darryl F. Zanuck, the head of the studio, liked what he saw and signed her to a contract.
Initially, Ms. Blaine languished. She was assigned some small parts and, after performing on the U.S.O. circuit, appeared in "Jitterbugs" (1943) with Laurel and Hardy. After storming into Zanuck's office and threatening to quit, she won a lead role in the musical "Greenwich Village" (1944). With an eye to the new Technicolor process, the studio dyed her blond hair red and promoted her as "the cherry blonde."
Her films of the 40's were limited to forgettable musicals like "Something for the Boys" (1944), "Doll Face" (1945), "Three Little Girls in Blue" (1946) and "If I'm Lucky" (1945). She did better as Joan Bennett's rival for George Raft in "Nob Hill" (1945) and as the dance-band singer Emily in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "State Fair" (1945).
Ms. Blaine won the role of Adelaide by chance. Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin, the producers of "Guys and Dolls," had turned her down for the part of Sarah Brown, the Mission Doll, telling her that her personality was too strong for the ingenue role. As luck would have it, she ran into the two men several months later on Broadway, at a time when they were having casting problems. A hasty audition was arranged, and Ms. Blaine won the part.
At first it wasn't much, just a few lines of dialogue attached to two songs. At one point, Ms. Blaine considered dropping out of the production in frustration. "That part was virtually written as the play was rehearsed," said Manny Franks, her husband and agent, in a 1952 interview. "Vivian would suggest things she had thought out for Miss Adelaide to do. Before long Miss Adelaide became one of the strongest elements in the show, simply because an actress had put her mind to making something out of nothing."
Ms. Blaine played Adelaide for five years, with a brief interruption to make the movie musical "Skirts Ahoy." She also played the role in the 1955 film version by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, with Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit in a cast that also included Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons. She played the role once more in a 1966 revival of the musical.
She appeared on Broadway in "A Hatful of Rain" (1956), replacing Shelley Winters; "Say, Darling" (1958), "Enter Laughing" (1963), "Company" (1971) and, briefly, "Zorba" (1984).
From 1951 to 1952 she appeared on television in "Those Two," a musical situation comedy with Pinky Lee. She also had roles in the films "Public Pigeon No. 1" (1957), "Richard" (1972), "The Dark" (1979)" and "Parasite" (1982).

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Vivian's lifetime.

In 1921, in the year that Vivian Blaine was born, in May, the Emergency Quota Act - or Emergency Immigration Act - was passed. The law restricted the number of immigrants to 357,000 per year. It also established an immigration quota in which only 3 per cent of the total population of any ethnic group already in the USA in 1910, could be admitted to America after 1921. Although the Act was supposed to be temporary, it stayed in effect until 1965.

In 1933, Vivian was merely 12 years old when Frances Perkins became the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position, appointed by President Roosevelt to serve as Secretary of Labor. She told him that her priorities would be a 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, abolition of child labor, direct federal aid to the states for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized federal employment service, and universal health insurance. President Roosevelt approved of all of them and most them were implemented during his terms as President. She served until his death in 1945.

In 1966, at the age of 45 years old, Vivian was alive when on September 8th, the first Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap," was broadcast on NBC. The plot concerned a creature that sucked salt from human bodies. The original series only aired for 3 seasons due to low ratings.

In 1988, Vivian was 67 years old when on December 16th, 1988 the popular film Rain Man was released. Featuring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. this film brought attention to autistic savants and was based on the "megasavant" Laurence Kim Peek. The film would later go to win four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role.

In 1995, in the year of Vivian Blaine's passing, on May 19th, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil - before 9/11 - took place in Oklahoma City. A truck bomb went off outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown - killing 68 people, injuring more than 680 others, and destroying one-third of the building. The most disturbing images were of children - a daycare center was hit by the bomb. The deadliest incident of domestic terrorism ever, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and Michael Fortier were convicted of the bombing.

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