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Martha Wright (1923 - 2016)

Courtesy Everett Collection

Martha Wright (1923 - 2016)

Martha Wright, an actress who was known best for her performances on Broadway and television, has died, according to multiple news sources.

Wright, who died March 1 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, was 92. No cause of death was announced.

A coloratura soprano, Wright was a promising opera and radio actress when she debuted on Broadway in 1947's "Music in My Heart," which closed the following year.

Success on Broadway continued when she replaced actress Mary Martin in "South Pacific" as well as "The Sound of Music." In all, Wright played more than 1,200 Broadway performances, most of them as Martin's replacement.

"I was so surprised, you could have knocked me over with a feather," Wright once said about replacing Martin.

"I thought I was being considered for the touring company to replace Janet Blair," she said, "and not as Mary Martin's replacement on Broadway."

Wright co-starred in the musical ghost story "Great To Be Alive!" in 1950.


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She transitioned easily to television, where she appeared on variety shows. She hosted "The Bell Telephone Hour" and, later, her eponymous show Sunday nights on ABC.

Wright was born Martha Lucile Wiederrecht March 23, 1923, in Seattle. She borrowed her mother's maiden name for her stage name.

In 1955, she married restaurateur George Manuche. They had four children.

A previous marriage, to T.W. "Teddy" Baumfeld, ended in divorce.

Wright was preceded in death by her second husband, in 2013. She is survived by three daughters, Maria Manuche, Javyvie Anderson and Jenny Vellante; a son, Michael Manuche; and 10 grandchildren.

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