Martin, Mary (Virginia)
- Deane L. Root
(b Weatherford, TX, Dec 1, 1913; d Rancho Mirage, CA, Nov 3, 1990). American actress, singer and dancer. Her mother was a violinist. Martin taught social and stage dance, sang on radio and in films, and achieved fame in 1938 performing ‘My heart belongs to daddy’ in Cole Porter’s Leave it to me, a song with which she remained associated throughout her career. Her first film role was in The Great Victor Herbert (1939) and her later films included Birth of the Blues (1941) and Night and Day (1946). She performed in Broadway musicals, beginning with Weill’s One Touch of Venus (1943, including the song ‘That’s him’). Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote South Pacific (1949) for her and the bass Ezio Pinza; Rodgers recalled (in his autobiography, Musical Stages, 1975) that Martin, concerned about their unequal voices, was promised no duets: moreover, ‘her songs were colloquial, direct, sunny and youthful, whereas his were sophisticated, romantic, even philosophical’ in lyrics and music. It was Martin who suggested adapting the film ...