Musicals Blog

My Fair Lady (1964)

by Claire J Rottenberg

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's "My Fair Lady" is one of only two Tony winning Best Musicals to also become an Academy Award winning Best Picture. The play ran on Broadway for six and a half years and it has had three Broadway revivals since it ended its first run in 1962. Both the book of the play and the screenplay were written by Alan Jay Lerner.

Only Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway recreated their stage roles in the movie version of "My Fair Lady." Rex Harrison won both the Tony award and the Academy Award for his perfect performance as Professor Henry Higgins. Although Stanley Holloway did not win either award, he did have the honor of being nominated for both awards as Best Supporting (or Featured) Actor. Overall, the Broadway version of "My Fair Lady" won 6 Tony awards out of 9 nominations and the film version won 8 Academy Awards out of 12 nominations.

Following the example of "West Side Story," singing voices were dubbed for the female lead (Marni Nixon for Audrey Hepburn) and for one supporting role. All of the songs from the original play were included in the movie version and no new songs were added.

"My Fair Lady" was the second Lerner and Loewe movie musical to win an Academy Award as Best Picture. "Gigi," an original musical made for the movies, won in 1958. No other composers have had more than one Oscar winning movie musical.