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"Singing Ghost" Marni Nixon Wants Credit

Feb. 5, 1962 - One of Hollywood’s “singing ghosts” has condemned the trick of concealing names of singers who, unseen, do the vocal chores for stars. Marni Nixon several months ago won an important victory for her profession by gaining the right to royalties on the recording of the soundtrack of “West Side Story.” Miss Nixon was the voice for Natalie Wood in the film version of the Broadway musical. She has ghosted in some 15 movies without receiving film credit or credit on the records made from the film soundtracks. Her resentment is symptomatic of a growing unrest among the small group of singing ghosts. The increasing desire by ghosts for screen credit is the result of three developments in movies:

1. Musicals, long in disfavor as poor box office, are enjoying a renaissance.

2. Many dramatic films are using theme songs that are later recorded and sold.

3. Screen credits are getting longer, mentioning names of relatively minor technicians.

“Assistant hairdressers and third assistant directors are getting screen credit,” Miss Nixon said. “Why shouldn’t they give credit to someone who does the singing for a star? From here on in, I intend to insist on screen credit when I sing.” Miss Nixon, in private life, is the wife of Ernest Gold, a composer of scores for such movies as “Exodus” and “Judgment at Nuremberg.” Miss Nixon hopes that by the time her two children, who play the piano and sing, grow up there will no longer be singing ghosts in Hollywood.

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