Who Dubbed Which Stars' Voices In Movie Musicals?

Categories: Film


Ever watch a star belt out a song in a movie musical and think, "Wow! I didn't know they could sing!"?

Well, they couldn't!

So many times, a perfectly nice-looking performer with lovely sounds emanating from their mouth is faking it like a drag queen doing Britney -- or even like Britney herself.

And the above video brilliantly puts it all together for you, showing you instance after instance of movieland's classic "singing" while telling you who was really warbling the vocal cords.

You'll find out exactly who sang for Joan Crawford, Patty Duke, Lucille Ball, Zac Efron, and even Liv Ullmann, for Chrissakes.

And you'll learn so many more eye- and ear-popping facts.

Interestingly, Harry Belafonte -- who's a singer by trade -- got dubbed in Porgy and Bess!

Fascinatingly, the woman who played Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! -- whom I always thought they must have gotten only because she could sing and probably worked cheap -- was dubbed!

And although Singin' in the Rain is all about Debbie Reynolds standing behind a curtain and doing the dubbing for a dumb blonde, it turns out Debbie was dubbed in the movie!

Someone was behind a curtain behind the curtain!

Hollywood weirdness never ceases to amaze me.

And by the way, I said that myself.

You can read my lips!


16345_Zac-Efron.jpg
My favorite sync-er, Zac Efron

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35 comments
PartyPlansPlus
PartyPlansPlus

The question is why do the studios do it? Not all of the actors who were dubbed were "stars" - at least not at the time they were dubbed. Why not find actors - likely those from Broadway - who already can sing?

I can understand it in a bio-pic like "Sweet Dreams" or "The Jolson Story," but why not simply hire actors who can sing? Cameron Diaz didn't have "star power" when she was dubbed. Neither did Richard Beymer or any number of the others (who often did musicals at the beginning of their careers).

I don't truly expect an answer but it's something I've been wondering about since I saw "West Side Story" and for years since.

Mae Swazey
Mae Swazey

This was great!  I was surprised by more than few.  Thanks, Michael!!

Wings
Wings

So Zac Efron must have been dubbed in Hairspray too, right?

CMG
CMG

The Kim Novak and Stanwyck dubs are outstanding.  Were the Russell and Wood back to back dubs just simply in the upper register? It seemed so seamless.

Damn Lost Horizon, it really does look like a trainwreck of the highest order. 

And who were they kidding about the Michael J. Fox dub? 

Marion Cotillard was also dubbed for La Vie en Rose, and not by Edith Piaf. 

Zabar
Zabar

Marni Nixon's son Andrew Gold also wrote the theme for Golden Girls!

But one question: Why is everyone mentioning Glee? Wasn't Zac Efron in High School Musical?

latenitebump
latenitebump

marilyn horne dorothy dandridge. carmen jones.

Brad's Boyfriend
Brad's Boyfriend

This clip proves at least one thing -- there is nothing like seeing a show on Broadway!

They also missed Marni Nixon singing for Deborah Kerr (again) in "An Affair to Remember."  I think the Academy should give her a Special Honorary Oscar, for having to save so many performances (and movies) and never receive any recognition -- not even in the credits.

The only movie she actually appeared in was "The Sound of Music," as one of the nuns singing "Maria."

Last year her son, Andrew Gold (singer-songwriter) died.  His hit song, "Lonely Boy," was about growing up in the Nixon-Gold household in Hollywood.

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

I read the article earlier but just now watched the vid....parts of me are deeply disturbed (one woman sang "all" the parts in Little Night Music??  "Who Will Buy"?? (that song tore up my newly teen-aged heart)

I'm calling Jake Gyllenhaal to do my dream sequences tonight...

Scott
Scott

What in the world have you got againest Marianne McAndrew?  I loved her in that part and I knew she was dubbed.  The shocker for me was High School Musical.

Melinda9
Melinda9

Great post. I understand why they want to meld a good looking person and a good singer. But when the singer isn't credited, it makes it seem like being able to sing well doesn't matter.

Jessie
Jessie

Rita Moreno was dubbed in WEST SIDE STORY. Recall that Oscar and give it to Judy!!

Monsieurpatric
Monsieurpatric

The awfulness/offalness of Rosanno Brazzi in South Pacific would have been improved with Rin Tin Tin in his place and Ms. Nixon providing even that vocal.

MSpeer
MSpeer

Love this post. Some great revelations! In Singin' in the Rain it sounds like maybe Debbie Reynolds did do her own singing for the uptempo number Good Mornin'. Can anyone confirm?

Honks
Honks

First of all...I'm a fossil. Apart from Marni Nixon...very enlightening. Sometimes shocking. In some, WHY DIDN'T THEY HIRE ACTORS WHO COULD SING??? GRRRRRRRRRRREAT MM. I had seen Beach Blanket Bingo with my dad as a kid and several of the musicals on afternoon tv...I'm soooooo old LOL

Billy
Billy

Why didn't they just have Drew Seeley play the part in High School Musical instead of Zach?He's a hottie too.

Capital Cat
Capital Cat

And on the Simpsons, the Dapper Dons voiced the B-Sharps.

Wellawella
Wellawella

The worst dubbing: Jayne Mansfield and Joanie Crawford.

Loins
Loins

Christopher Plummer was dubbed on "Edelweiss"? Take away his Oscar!

Isla
Isla

Some of these are so perfect. The woman who did Lucy's voice and the gal who did Kim Novak's are so spot on you'd never know those two are were dubbed. But Jean Craine and Harlow look like they're definitely coming out with someone else's voice.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

God, Marni Nixon was busy!!!

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

"Marion Cotillard was also dubbed for La Vie en Rose, and not by Edith Piaf."

[Grace Jones] ♫ "Mon coeur qui maaaallll...oooow yeah!♫

Jessie
Jessie

Poor ol' hardworking Marni is not even credited, to this day, on the soundtracks for MY FAIR LADY, THE KING AND I and WEST SIDE STORY. Life can suck.

Melinda9
Melinda9

And I was shocked about Glee - because isn't singing what that show's about?

Ick
Ick

Looks like Mark Lester was duibbed in Olver! by a girl.

CMG
CMG

I believe they also did it to Russ Tamblyn.  In both cases, total overkill on the dubbing.  

mjm
mjm

Debbie Reynolds did all of her own singin' in Singin' in the Rain except for the final scene and Would You; Jean Hagen (aka Lina Lamont) dubbed her speaking voice in the scene where Debbie and Gene Kelly are in the recording booth before Jean and a young Rita Moreno spot them kissing.

speaking of Ms. Moreno, I read that she did all her own singing in West Side Story and wasn't dubbed by Betty Wand.

Elton's Boyfriend
Elton's Boyfriend

Because Drew wasn't sleeping with someone at Sundance Film Festival the year before.

mjm
mjm

btw, Connie Francis dubbed Jayne's singing voice in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw.

Troofire
Troofire

He didn't win an Oscar for Sound of Music.

CMG
CMG

Jean's sounds like a woman twice her age.  

Lala
Lala

I think Rita was indeed dubbed in certain notes.

Tartufo
Tartufo

I believe he/she is commenting on the fact that he's going to win for Beginners.

Loins
Loins

Yes, I was. Thank you. I always found it absurd that Plummer wasn't nominated at all until recently for "Last Station." This is obviously his year to win.

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