Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers a Texan who could sing, dance and magically fly through the air.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you.
And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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Mary Martin was born in Weatherford on Dec. 1, 1913. Martin’s mother, a violin teacher, encouraged her daughter to sing and perform in local theater. In 1930, Mary Martin married an accountant named Benjamin Hagman. In 1931, she gave birth to a son, Larry Hagman, who would star in the popular 1960s TV show I Dream of Jeannie and then gain even greater fame as J.R. Ewing in the 1980s TV drama Dallas. Mary Martin performed for years in plays, nightclubs and on radio before appearing in several Hollywood movies during the 1950s. She won critical acclaim in such Broadway productions as South Pacific, The Sound of Music and Peter Pan. It was her role as the title character in Peter Pan that made her an international star. Mary Martin continued to work on Broadway and television throughout her life, earning multiple Tony Awards, as well as a lifetime achievement award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a Texas songwriter who helped re-write some of the country’s best-loved songs.