Sunday, 25 February 2018

"It's Fab-ray, not Fa-bare-ass!"

As dear Muscato might allude: "Silently, slowly, in a Rococo apartment in the "Embassies Quarter" of Paris - Rue Bénouville, close to where The Windsors lived in exile - a gnarled hand* reaches for an ornate gilt propelling pencil. Carefully, she turns to the page and strikes out another name in the long list therein. And smiles a secret smile..."

Nanette Fabray - one of the last survivors of the "Golden Age" of Hollywood - has died, aged 97.

  • A child star during the silent movie era, she starred alongside many of the greats including Ben Turpin, but she made her feature film debut as a young adult in the 30s as one of Bette Davis' ladies-in-waiting in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.
  • Miss Fabray was Gower Champion's first choice to play Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly, but Marge put her foot down and chose Carol Channing.
  • After suffering the embarrassment of being introduced as "Nanette Fa-bare-ass" at a benefit attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, she decided to change the spelling of her surname.
  • She became a household name in America during the mid 1950s as comedy partner to Sid Caesar on Caesar's Hour for which she won three Emmy Awards - but it was her appearance in a starring role in the film The Band Wagon, in which she performed the famous musical number Triplets alongside Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan, for which she is probably best remembered worldwide.
  • She overcame a significant hearing impairment to pursue her career and was a long-time advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • In The Mary Tyler Moore Show she was mother to Mary Richards; and she continued her TV career with appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, Love American Style, Maude, The Love Boat, What's My Line? and Murder, She Wrote.
RIP Nanette Fabray (born Ruby Bernadette Nanette Fabares, 17th October 1920 – 22nd February 2018)

[* In case you are confused, dear reader, he regularly writes a fanciful allusion to the reaction of the oldest of all the "survivors" of that classic era, Dame Olivia de Havilland, to the news she's outlived another one. Of course.]


  1. Another star now leaves the earth and ascends to the heavens, another light in the darkness, another jewel in the velvet night.

    Rest in Peace, Ms Nanette Fabray.

    1. I am sure she would have appreciated your poetic sentiments... Jx

  2. Ha! Merciless and all-too-accurate impersonation, Caro!

    Have to admit that despite her advanced age, I didn't think of Nanette in terms of The Book, mostly because I think of her, despite The Band Wagon, as such a creature of the theatre and then later television. One of the best, that's for sure, and much beloved. A pro.

    1. True, she wasn't in that many big movies... Jx


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