|Year of Birth:||1934|
Marilyn Horne (born January 16, 1934) is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer. She specialized in roles requiring beauty of tone, excellent breath support, and the ability to execute difficult coloratura passages. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts (1992) and the Kennedy Center Honors (1995). She has won four Grammy Awards.
Horne was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, but moved with her parents to Long Beach, California, when she was 11. At the age of 13, she became part of the newly formed Los Angeles Concert Youth Chorus. She attended the University of Southern California where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She is an alumna of Long Beach Polytechnic High School and returned in 1989 in a performance to benefit its music program. As a high school student, Marilyn was part of the St. Luke's Choir of Long Beach under the direction of William Ripley Dorr. This prestigious choir often worked for the movie studios and recorded with Capitol Records. Marilyn and her sister Gloria were part of St. Luke's Quartet along with tenor Bob James and baritone Philip D. Haynes.
She studied voice under William Vennard at the University of Southern California School of Music and participated in Lotte Lehmann's vocal master classes at Music Academy of the West.
Horne's first major professional engagement was in 1954, when she dubbed the singing voice of Dorothy Dandridge in the film Carmen Jones. Until that point, she had worked as a background singer for several TV sitcoms, as well as recorded covers of popular songs of the early 1950s, which were sold in dimestores around the country for $1.98. She made an appearance on The Odd Couple as a character named "Jackie", her own nickname, a meek and nervous would-be singer who develops a crush on character Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) and into a full-blown diva as well, playing the role of Carmen in Felix Unger's (Tony Randall) opera group production. With brilliant results. She also sang on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She made her Los Angeles debut the same year when she performed the role of Hata in The Bartered Bride with the Los Angeles Guild Opera.