Nanette Fabray (1920 - )
Size: 6in x 4.5in
Signed: ' For Howard Always have that wonderful smile & personality! Nanette Fabray'
A 6x4.5 pink signed album page.
A sparkling, energetic presence ever since her early days (from age 4) as a singing and tap dancing child vaudevillian, Nanette Fabray (born Ruby Fabares in San Diego) was then billed as "Baby Nanette" and working with the top headliners of the time, notably Ben Turpin, in the Los Angeles area. She also sang on radio. It was widely rumored that she appeared in the "Our Gang" ("Little Rascal") film shorts of the late 1920s; however, this was not true. Later she received a scholarship to the Max Reinhardt School of the Theatre and appeared in the school's productions of "The Miracle", "Six Characters in Search of an Author" and "A Servant with Two Masters", all in 1939.
The musical comedy stage, however, would be Nanette's forte appearing in such hit New York productions as "Meet the People" (1940), "Let's Face It" (1941)_, "By Jupiter" (1943), and "Bloomer Girl" (1945). She capped this era of productivity earning Tony and Donaldson award-winning acclaim in the Broadway productions of "High Button Shoes" (1947) and "Love Life" (1948). Strangely, Nanette never obtained a strong foothold when it came to film. Aside from secondary roles in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, and the melodrama A Child Is Born (1939), her one claim to movie fame would be her participation in the blockbuster MGM musical The Band Wagon (1953) in which she memorably performed "That's Entertainment," "Louisiana Hayride" and the standout "Triplets" number alongside Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan.
In the 1950s Nanette looked forward to TV as a possible medium to fit her talents. It certainly was. She managed a major feat by winning 3 Emmy awards as Sid Caesar's partner on the now-called "Caesar's Hour" (1954) following Caesar's split with the seemingly irreplaceable Imogene Coca earlier. This led to Nanette eventually starring in her own sitcom, the short-lived "Westinghouse Playhouse" (1961) (aka "Yes, Yes, Nanette") in the role of a Broadway star who becomes a makeshift mom after marrying a widower (Wendell Corey) with two children.
Broadway musicals continued to shine on in the 1950s with "Arms and the Girl" (1950) and "Make a Wish" (1951). Nanette later copped another Tony nomination starring as a fictional "First Lady" opposition "President" Robert Ryan in the musical "Mr. President" (1962). Other tailor-made stage vehicles for her came in the form of "Plaza Suite", "Wonderful Town", "Never Too Late", "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" and "Cactus Flower", among others.
Nanette matured into a lively and graceful support player. On TV she guested as a number of delightfully daffy moms, wisecracking friends and intrusive relatives in several shows -- sometimes alongside her own niece, actress Shelley Fabares, as was in the case of their regular roles on "One Day at a Time" (1975). Nanette was a popular game show personality during the 60s and 70s, appearing on "Hollywood Squares", "High Rollers", "Password" and "Match Game", among others. The singer-comedienne also could be counted on to add to the fun on the TV musical variety circuit courtesy of headliners Dinah Shore, Andy Williams, Dean Martin and Carol Burnett.
Most importantly, Nanette's humanitarian efforts over the years have been long recognized. A positive force as a hearing-impaired performer, she has given much time and effort in achieving equality for all types of handicapped and disabled people, including actors. Nanette is the widow (since 1973) of writer and sometime director/producer Ranald MacDougall, appearing in a few of his credited works, including the film Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970), the TV pilot Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966) (TV) and the TV-movie Magic Carpet (1972) (TV). She and MacDougall have one child. Still as lively as ever, Nanette appeared most recently in an L.A. musical revue entitled "The Damsel Dialogues" (2007).