|Born||in Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Died||in New York City, New York, USA (natural causes)|
|Birth Name||Moishe Miller|
|Height||6' (1.83 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
One of the Metropolitan Opera's most enduring and acclaimed baritones, Brooklyn-born Robert Merrill was born Moishe Miller on June 4, 1917 (some sources list 1919), the son of Polish émigrés. His father, Abraham, was a shoe salesman and mother Lillian was an operatic soprano who performed in concert before her marriage. His parents changed their last name to Miller upon their arrival in the United States.
Robert's mother was the one who encouraged and guided Robert during his early operatic training after an initially promising career as a semipro pitcher subsided. Overweight and unhappy as a child, he was further hampered by a stuttering problem that only went away when he sang. His first audition for the Metropolitan Opera in 1941 was not successful. He made ends meet by singing for bar mitzvahs and weddings.
Robert finally made his operatic debut in 1944 voicing the role of Amonasro in "Aida" in Trenton, New Jersey, then successfully joined the Met the following year, taking his first company bow in December as Germont in "La Traviata." Displaying an amazingly vigorous yet smooth and effortless baritone, other roles in his standard repertoire would include the title role in "Rigoletto," Figaro in "The Barber of Seville," "Tonio in "Pagliacci" and Escamillo in "Carmen." Robert was deemed one of the finest Giuseppe Verdi baritones of his generation.
Unlike most of his peers, Robert extended himself willingly into the radio, film, nightclub and TV arenas. He even performed in Vegas. A featured soloist on radio's RCA Victor Show in 1946, he abandoned the Met for a time to jump at a chance to co-star in a film. This led to a volatile falling out with the Met's general manager, Rudolf Bing. Harmlessly featured in the comedy western Senorita from the West (1945) starring Allan Jones, Robert's subsequent part in the innocuously-titled Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (1952) with Dinah Shore and Alan Young (of Mister Ed (1958) fame), in which he played an on-the-lam crook, was an unmitigated disaster. Realizing his mistake, he returned quickly to the company after several public apologies to Mr. Bing. On TV, he made guest appearances on "Your Show of Shows," "The Jackie Gleason Show," "The Milton Berle Show," ""The Red Skelton Show" "Sonny and Cher." He also appeared in TV operatic productions of Don Carlo (1950) and Carmen (1952), as well as talk show and game show circuits.
Robert's first marriage to the Met's reigning soprano Roberta Peters lasted a dismal three months. They remained friends, however, and would perform together from time to time. They were both frequent guests on Ed Sullivan's variety show, The Ed Sullivan Show (1948), during the 1950s and 1960s. Two children were born from his second marriage to pianist Marion Machno. Robert continued to sing at the Met until 1976, performing sporadically after that as a recitalist. He died of natural causes in 2004 at age 87.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
|Marion Machno||(1954 - 23 October 2004) ( his death) ( 2 children)|
|Roberta Peters||(30 March 1952 - 26 June 1952) ( divorced)|