12-01-1913

Mary Martin as Peter Pan

MARY MARTIN, American actor and singer’s birthday (d. 1990); Tony Award winning American star of (mainly stage) musicals. Among the roles she originated were Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria in The Sound of Music. She was also a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989. It has been reported that she was in a longtime relationship with actress Janet Gaynor. At some point, her ex-husband, Ben Hagman, stated that his ex-wife was having an affair with Gaynor.

Though Martin denied the story, speculation on the gossip circuit continued. The speculation was overshadowed by the horrified reaction of entertainment industry workers in 1982 when a 36-year-old drunken driver named Robert Cato ran a red light in San Francisco and crashed into a taxi whose passengers were Martin, Ben Washer, described by the Los Angeles Times as her longtime confidant and business associate, Gaynor and her husband, Paul Gregory. Washer was killed instantly. Gaynor’s injuries were critical and proven to cause her death two years later.