$19.99


This is an original typed letter, measuring 6-1/2" x 7-1/2" with an embossed stationary, with an autograph signature from actress Diana Lynn.

It was typed to SLEEPING BEAUTY voice actor, BILL SHIRLEY. This came direct from his estate. Diana Lynn sent an a letter to the actor apologizing not being able to see him while in New York. It's a vintage personal letter with an autograph signature to boot! Nice for the theatre lover!

Shop with confidence! This is part of our in-store inventory from our shop which is has been located in the heart of Hollywood where we have been in business for OVER 40 years!

MORE INFO ON BILL SHIRLEY: William Jay "Bill" Shirley (July 6, 1921 "?? August 27, 1989) was an American actor and singer, later a Broadway theatre producer. He was perhaps most famous for providing both the speaking and singing voice for Prince Phillip in Walt Disney's 1959 animated masterpiece Sleeping Beauty.

Shirley was born in Indianapolis, Indiana where he attended Shortridge High School. As a very young child he was known in his town as a boy soprano and singing prodigy. He had small extra roles in a few films such as "The Phantom President" (1932) and "As The Devil Commands" (1933). He sang Christmas carols in the Columbia Pictures film "Acquitted" (1929). His father, Luther Shirley, was a funeral director for Shirley Brothers. His mother, Inez Shirley (Baldwin) was a professional pianist. In 1940, at the age of 19 he left his hometown and moved to Hollywood, California where he went on to study voice and music at the Herbert Wall School of Music. Within the year he had signed a contract with Republic Studios for small parts in 7 pictures including; Flying Tigers, Doctors Don't Tell, Rookies on Parade, Hi Neighbor, Ice-Capades Review and Sailors on Leave. In early 1942, before he had completed his contract, Shirley entered the Army, enlisting as a private, and served in recruiting. He also served with the Quartermaster Corps, the Signal Corps, and the Radio section of the Special Services branch. After the war he had a difficult time restarting his career. In 1952 he played the role of Bruce Martingale in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd and later that year got his only leading role onscreen: as Stephen Foster in I Dream of Jeanie. Throughout the 1950s he made regular radio appearances and regularly performed on stage, night clubs and television.

During the film's production, Shirley along with Ed Kemmer was used by the Disney animators as a live action reference model for Prince Phillip and used both of them to perform many of the sequences from the movie live in front of them whilst they drew the animated character. He had many rehearsals with the actress and singer playing Princess Aurora (Disney), Mary Costa and the two soon became friends and later; before the film was released, performed together at the Hollywood Bowl on a Disney themed night. In an interview Costa mentions that both her and the actresses playing the fairy godmothers (Verna Felton, Barbara Jo Allen and Barbara Luddy) were endeared to Shirley's shyness and that "we all had our crushes on him" and " ... he was so shy and we all had just genuine crushes on that Prince. He was really cute". In another interview she goes on to say "We loved to tease him. Verna Felton who played Flora would always creep up behind him with a pencil and act like it was a baton. She'd do some fairy work on him and say he was going to be the greatest, handsomest, and all of this".

Shirley and Costa sung the now iconic song of the film; Once Upon a Dream (Sleeping Beauty song). Alongside the original, there is a version that was unused and unpublished for the film and contains rare vocals from both performers slightly different from that in the film; this can easily be found on the internet.

Another famous vocal role of his, for which he again remained uncredited as a ghost singer, was when he provided the singing voice of the character Freddy Einsford-Hill (played by Jeremy Brett) of Warner Bros. My Fair Lady singing one of the film's most memorable songs; On the Street Where You Live. Brett had long claimed that it was he who had sung the song and that Mr. Shirley merely "sweetened the high tones". It was not until 1994 that Brett admitted that it was Shirley who sung the iconic song and not him, although Brett claimed that he knew nothing about it until the opening night. During the late 1940's, Bill was a vocal ghost under contract for 20th Century-Fox, dubbing vocals for films such as "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" (1949) and "Dancing In The Dark" (1949) before the studio released him for no apparent reason.

He died of lung cancer in 1989 at the Guardian Convalescent Hospital in Los Angeles at the age of 68. He was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, back home in Indianapolis.

MORE INFO ON DIANA LYNN: She was a child prodigy, pianist, at age 10, and her first movie role was one of the children in, "They Shall Have Music" (1939). You see her playing the piano. She made another movie using her 'real name' - Dolly in, "There's Magic in Music" (1941). She signed a long term contract with Paramount in 1942, and had her named changed to Diana Lynn. She had good roles in, "The Major, and the Minor" (1942); "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek", and, "Our Hearts Were Young, and Gay" -both in 1944. She had fewer roles as she matured; she did do, "Bedtime for Bonzo" (1951), but had a nice career on TV shows. She died of a stroke when she was making a in film. Her marriages were from 1948 to 1954 to architect John C. Lindsay; no children; then in December 6,1956, she married Mortimer C.Hall, president of L.A. radio station, KLAC. His mother was Dorothy Schiff, publisher then of the 'New York Post'. She had four children with him between 1958, and 1964. They moved to New York City so he could assume a post on his mother's paper. She passed away on December 17, 1971 of a stroke/brain hemorrhage in Los Angeles.

Retired for the most part in 1970 to become the director of GO (Travel) Agency in Manhattan, but died a year later at age 45, just nine days after suffering a stroke.

Although she was semi-retired and living in New York in 1971, Paramount offered her the role of Anthony Perkins' wife in (1972). She returned to Los Angeles in preparation for her role, but suffered a fatal stroke before filming began.

In the late 60s, she operated "GO," a travel agency which was situated at a Bonwit Teller store in New York.

Her father, Louis William Loehr, was a prosperous oil company exec and her mother, the former Eartha Thes, an accomplished pianist and teacher who guided Diana's early musical career. By age 12, the young prodigy was playing with the Los Angeles Junior Symphony Orchestra.

Starred with the late in the highly popular movie (1944), in which she played writer and Russell played close friend and author . Ironically, both Kimbrough and Skinner would outlive their 20-odd-years younger screen portrayers.

Her first husband's mother was Dorothy Schiff, longtime owner and publisher of the New York Post.

Her accomplishments as a pianist were evident in her early Hollywood days when she made several important recordings, including Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue!

Proved to be a highly-praised Broadway performer, and critical appreciation was strong. She followed Barbara BelGeddes in the title role in 'Mary Mary' to acclaim, and starred in both new plays and comedies as well as revivals.

This item is part of Backlot Movie Memorabilia and collectibles in-store inventory from our shop which is located in the heart of Hollywood, where we have been in business for OVER 40 years!!!

DIANA LYNN Original TYPED Signed AUTOGRAPH Letter to BILL SHIRLEY
Item #BMM0002960