Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Virginia Gibson

I watched part of the Tony Awards broadcast on Sunday. During the segment in which tribute is paid to Broadway figures who died in the past year, I learned of the death of Virginia Gibson. She passed away in April, at 85.

Gibson was a singer, actress, and television host.  She was one of the stars of the 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, was a regular on Johnny Carson's 1955-1956 comedy and variety series on CBS-TV, and in the 1960s and early 1970s was the co-host (first, with Frank Buxton, and then, with Bill Owen) of the popular children's TV program Discovery.  In 1957 she was a Tony Award nominee (in the Supporting or Featured Musical Actress category), for her role in the play Happy Hunting.

From 1957 to 1958, she was one of the singing stars of Your Hit Parade, on NBC-TV (along with Tommy Leonetti, Alan Copeland, and Jill Corey). This new, and younger, Hit Parade cast had replaced the longtime stars of the TV program--Dorothy Collins, Snooky Lanson, Gisele MacKenzie, and Russell Arms.   

After the 1957-1958 season, Gibson and her fellow cast members left the program. The show then moved to CBS;  the CBS version, which aired in 1958 and 1959, starred Dorothy Collins and Johnny Desmond.

(Photo, above, from 1962, of Virginia Gibson and Frank Buxton, from Discovery, ABC-TV.)