Ethel Merman - Rotten Tomatoes

Ethel Merman



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.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
100% Six By Sondheim
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Christmas Television Favorites
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Broadway's Best at Pops
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Broadway's Lost Treasures III: The Best of the Tony Awards
  • Girl Crazy
2005
No Score Yet Judy Garland - Judy Duets
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Cole Porter - An All-Star Tribute
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet The Great American Songbook
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Judy Garland - Judy Garland and Friends
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Call Me Madam
  • Actor
1986
97% Airplane!
  • Lt. Hurwitz
1980
No Score Yet 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
75% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Mrs. Marcus
1963
No Score Yet Judy Garland Show - Featuring Peggy Lee and Ethel Merman
  • Actor
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 Anything Goes
  • Actor
1936
No Score Yet Strike Me Pink
  • Joyce Lennox
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

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Performer
No Score Yet Batman
1966-1968
  • Lola Lasagne

Quotes from Ethel Merman's Characters