This news item will expire on (12/5/08)

Ron Davis – Thursday, December 4 at the DeGolyer Library

6:00 p.m. Reception, Texana Room
6:30 p.m. Lecture & book signing, Stanley Marcus Reading Room

Ron Davis, emeritus professor of history at SMU, and founder of the SMU Oral History Collection on the Performing Arts, will discuss his new book, Mary Martin, Broadway Legend (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008). Lively and engaging, Davis’s biography is the first book-length portrait of the theater icon, spanning her lifetime to reveal facts about her childhood, marriages, and friendships–as well as artistic collaborations that included the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, and Elia Kazan.

Born in Weatherford, Texas, and mother to the future actor Larry Hagman, Martin went to California after the failure of her first marriage. There, she auditioned for every studio without success. “Audition Mary” finally had her big break when she won a talent contest, leading to her breakthrough 1938 performance in Leave It to Me–in which she wowed audiences singing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” Davis traces Martin’s numerous appearances on Broadway, in touring productions, and on television, showing how–through hard work and persistent optimism–she built a career that lasted nearly fifty years and earned her the adoration and respect of fans and colleagues alike.