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Monday, April 6, 2015

Remembering Julie Wilson 1924 - 2015

I was lucky enough to see "The Queen of Cabaret" - the divine Julie Wilson - perform at Chicago's Toulouse Cognac Bar back in 1996. The singer/actress, who died Sunday at age 90, made her Broadway debut in the 1946 musical revue, Three to Make Ready, and she later appeared on Broadway in Kismet (1955), The Pajama Game (1956), Jimmy (1969-70), Park (1970) and Legs Diamond (for which she received a 1989 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical). Wilson also starred in London productions of Kiss Me, Kate, South Pacific (replacing Mary Martin) and Bells Are Ringing as well as the national touring companies of the Sondheim musicals, Company, Follies and A Little Night Music.

Other credits include the 1957 films, The Strange One and This Could Be the Night, a 1958 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV production of Kiss Me, Kate, and the daytime soap opera, The Secret Storm (in 1966). And in January 1984 - after eight years of "semiretirement" - she returned to show business with an evening of Cole Porter songs at Michael's Pub in New York, which led to her celebrated career as a cabaret performer over the last three decades.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Julie Wilson's life and career.

The Strange One (1957) with Ben Gazzara

This Could Be the Night (1957) with Jean Simmons

Kiss Me, Kate (with Bill Hayes) that aired on November 20, 1958

"I Only Wanna Laugh" from Jimmy (1969)

A 1991 performance of "I'm Still Here" from Follies (with her long-time accompanist William Roy)

A 1997 performance of "The Ladies Who Lunch" from Company

1 comment:

Jon said...

Oh, such sad news - and I never got to see her (I don't think she ever brought her cabaret show to London)... Jx