A golden girl of 1940s and ‘50s New York, actress Mary Martin went from small-town life in Weatherford, Texas, to Broadway, to become one of its most adored starlets. A muse of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she starred in some of America’s most iconic musicals, most notably as Peter Pan, Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and Nellie in South Pacific.
After marrying at age 17, Martin divorced her husband a few years later, left him and her toddler son, and set out for Hollywood, where she was discovered by Oscar Hammerstein himself at an audition while singing one of his songs. The hopeful actress quickly moved to New York and became Broadway royalty overnight with her iconic number in Leave It to Me, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.”
The book Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin, out Tuesday from St. Martin’s Press, traces her life from Texas to Broadway, detailing her unforgettable roles, closeted husband, and rumored relationships with women. Click ahead to see vintage photographs from the book: Martin singing on CBS Radio, in her dressing room before a Peter Pan performance, and wearing an extravagant fur coat with Jean Arthur on the set of The Talk of the Town.