Centenarian Preserves Coloratura Voice

Rye, New York, population 16,000, in Westchester County, serves as a bedroom community for Manhattan, a 30-minute drive, depending on traffic, or a quick trip by commuter rail. Situated on Long Island Sound, it’s a well-heeled town with high real estate prices.

In late April, Rye resident Marta Eggerton turned 100. Reaching the centenarian threshold is a unique accomplishment. Coupled with this feat, is Eggerton’s career as an actress and singer in thirty plus German and English language films, from the early-thirties through the mid-fifties.

Born in Hungary, she fled Europe with husband Jan Kiepura (d. 1966); both had Jewish mothers. Eggerton worked with many American directors, including Douglas Sirk and Billy Wilder.

She starred alongside Judy Garland in the Busby Berkeley hit, For Me and My Gal, and in Presenting Lily Mars.  Eggerton performed with her husband, more than 2,000 times, in five languages, in Franz Lehar’s Broadway musical, “Merry Widow”.

Eggerton never drank or smoked, ardently preserving her voice. She has stopped public performances but retains her singing tone and range. Her performing voice remains remarkably fit and lively, as heard in an interview May 6 on CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.