Take a moment to remember the always unseen Mrs. Wolowitz, not to mention Marni Nixon


Poor Mrs. Wolowitz. The uber shrill prototypical Jewish mother, needy, obsessed with her son, and constantly concerned with her bowel movement functions is no more.

Or, more to the point, poor Carol Ann Susi, who provided the braying voice of that Yiddishe Momme with spurs on has passed away at the untimely age of 62, never having been seen by the audience of the most popular comedy on television, the Big Bang Theory. How odd to have been so omnipresent but to just be a voice in the background with her plaintive cries of “Howaahd!” directed at her sexually obsessed horndog engineer and space cadet son.

carol annIt must be odd to have a successful TV career based almost exclusively on being a braying and unattractive voice and who conveyed an image (a la the script) of being obese, slatternly and who spent many of her waking hours sitting on the potty when she wasn’t turning out Howard’s favorite brisket.

In real life Miss Susi was an attractive and unobese womana who had actually shown her face periodically in the odd TV show, like Seinfeld, but we all knew her best as an unappealing voice. An odd career to be sure. I like to call it the Marni Nixon syndrome.

You might not think you know Marni Nixon, but you do. Well, at least you know her voice. She was the ultimate voice in film depictions of those Broadway musicals you possibly love if you are a filmed musicals buff.

marniSo, Marni was Deborah Kerr’s voice in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. In fact there was a great to-do in the day when Hepburn got the My Fair Lady role for the film, considering the fact that Julie Andrews had owned the role on Broadway and was a brilliant singer, whereas Miss Hepburn, lovely and talented performer that she was, couldn’t sing for shit. But, she was considered bigger box office in the day.

Well, I guess for both women it was a living in a hardscrabble business and as my Cockney landlady used to say about the perversities of life: “Mustn’t grumble, it could be worse.”


4 responses to “Take a moment to remember the always unseen Mrs. Wolowitz, not to mention Marni Nixon

  1. I never knew about Marni Nixon! I wonder how people get those jobs as “off scene” voices?

  2. Well, she was already a singer of note, or so I read on Google.

  3. I never recognize voices. In Quebec, you have the same actors doing everything: TV, film, theatre, movie voice-overs and, of course the ubiquitous radio and TV ads. I never ever recognize their voices in commercials – even when, as has happened before, I’m in the middle of a TV show featuring said actor… I’m a spaz that way.

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