Mary Martin’s Final TV Appearances

Twenty years ago this week, the Broadway community lost one of its biggest superstars when beloved Mary Martin died of cancer. The four time Tony winner (three competitive wins for South Pacific, Peter Pan and The Sound of Music; one special win for touring the country in Annie Get Your Gun) was the toast of Broadway musicals from her 1938 breakthrough in Cole Porter’s Leave It to Me through I Do! I Do! opened in 1966.

While she went into semi-retirement following I Do! I Do!, the star continued to make appearances in concert and on television, which made her an even bigger star when Peter Pan was telecast. Her final televised performance was in 1988, when she appeared In Performance at the White House: A Salute to Broadway, Showstoppers with Marvin Hamlisch, Bea Arthur, Elaine Paige, Dorothy Loudon and Jennifer Holliday. Martin sang some of her career-defining numbers from South Pacific, One Touch of Venus and Leave It to Me.



Her final TV appearance came one year later when she received the Kennedy Center Honor. Here’s a clip of her son Larry Hagman paying tribute to her: