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ETHEL MERMAN  (c.1906-1984)  The only way to document Merman's birth date is to know that she graduated New York's Bryant High School in 1924.  We do know that she passed away at home in her New York apartment in February 1984. Merman had been the co-First Lady of Broadway from her first Opening night on October 14, 1930 in George and Ira Gershwin's GIRL CRAZY through her last closing matinee on Sunday, December 27, 1970 in HELLO, DOLLY!  There had been five shows with Cole Porter, two with Irving Berlin and GYPSY by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim.  Her last words on a Broadway stage after her DOLLY closing were "I don't know about you, but I'm going out for some Neapolitan ice cream!"  When television host asked Merman if she could sing, she replied "Apparently."  That was The Real Ethel.

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