Ethel Merman

Highest Rated: 100% Six By Sondheim (2013)
Lowest Rated: 0% The Art of Love (1965)
Birthday: Jan 16, 1908
Birthplace: Not Available
Twenty-two-year-old ex-stenographer and former nightclub singer Ethel Merman achieved overnight superstardom when, in 1930, she first belted out "I Got Rhythm" in the Broadway production of Girl Crazy. Merman's subsequent stage hits included Anything Goes, Red, Hot and Blue, Panama Hattie, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, and Gypsy. While her Living Legend status was secure on the Great White Way, Merman was less fortunate in the movies. She was upstaged by Ed Wynn in Follow the Leader (1930), by Bing Crosby and Burns and Allen in We're Not Dressing (1934), by Eddie Cantor in Kid Millions (1934), and -- most ignominiously -- by the Ritz Brothers in Straight, Place and Show (1938). While she was permitted to repeat her stage roles in the movie versions Anything Goes (1936) and Call Me Madam (1954), she had to endure watching Betty Hutton wail her way through the film adaptations Red, Hot and Blue (1949) and Annie Get Your Gun (1950), and withstand the spectacle of a miscast Rosalind Russell misplaying the part of Mama Rose in the 1963 filmization Gypsy. Perhaps Merman's talents were too big and bombastic for the comparatively intimate medium of films; or perhaps she just didn't photograph well enough to suit the Hollywood higher-ups. Merman's best movie work includes the two Irving Berlin catalogues Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) and There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), and her character role as Milton Berle's behemoth mother-in-law in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Ethel Merman's final film appearance was a cameo in Airplane! (1980): she played the unfortunate Lieutenant Hurwitz, who is confined to the psycho ward because he thinks he's Ethel Merman.

Highest Rated Movies



100% Six By Sondheim Actor 2013
No Score Yet Broadway's Best at Pops Actor 2007
No Score Yet Judy Garland - Judy Duets Actor 2005
No Score Yet Broadway's Lost Treasures III: The Best of the Tony Awards Girl Crazy 2005
No Score Yet Cole Porter - An All-Star Tribute Actor 2004
No Score Yet The Great American Songbook Actor 2003
No Score Yet Call Me Madam Actor 1986
97% Airplane! Lt. Hurwitz 1980
20% Rudolph and Frosty: Christmas in July Lillie 1979
No Score Yet Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood Hedda Parsons 1976
No Score Yet Journey Back to Oz Mombi the Bad Witch 1974
0% The Art of Love Mme. Coco 1965
No Score Yet Cole Porter: An All-Star Tribute Actor 1964
73% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Mrs. Marcus 1963
67% There's No Business Like Show Business Molly Donahue 1954
No Score Yet Mary Martin and Ethel Merman - The Ford 50th Anniversary Show Actor 1953
80% Call Me Madam Sally Adams 1953
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen Stage Door Canteen Star 1943
80% Alexander's Ragtime Band Jerry Allen 1938
No Score Yet Happy Landing Flo Kelly 1938
No Score Yet Strike Me Pink Joyce Lennox 1936
No Score Yet Anything Goes Actor 1936
No Score Yet The Big Broadcast of 1936 Themselves 1935
No Score Yet Kid Millions Dot Clark 1934
No Score Yet We're Not Dressing Edith 1934


No Score Yet Great Performances
  • 2013
100% The Muppet Show
  • 1977
93% Batman
Lola Lasagne
  • 1967
  • 1966
No Score Yet American Masters