Marni Nixon, the “invisible voice” behind Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, dies aged 86

The classically trained musician featured – uncredited – in many of biggest movie musicals of all time

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Marni Nixon, known to many as Hollywood’s “invisible voice”, died of breast cancer on Sunday aged 86.

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“She passed away peacefully with her family at her side,” Michael Kirsten, senior vice president of Nixon’s talent agency, Harden-Curtis Associates, said in a statement to LA Times.

Nixon sang high notes for Marilyn Monroe in Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend, dubbed the voice of Natalie Wood in West Side Story and “ghosted” Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

The California-born musician remained unknown for most of her career despite appearing on more than 50 soundtracks, and sometimes didn’t even receive royalties for her work.

She only sang on screen once – as Sister Sophia, one of the nuns performing How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? in The Sound Of Music.

In later years, Nixon was a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and hosted the Emmy Award-winning children’s television show Boomerang.

A two-time survivor of breast cancer, Nixon played at many fundraisers for breast cancer awareness.

She was married three times, and is survived by three sisters, two daughters from her first marriage, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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Marni Nixon talks about her work