Merman, Ethel, 1908–84, American musical comedy star, b. Astoria, N.Y., originally named Ethel Zimmerman. Merman's theater debut was in George and Ira Gershwin's Girl Crazy (1930). Noted for her brassy, booming voice, she appeared on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam (also the film version, 1953), and Gypsy. Among her films are Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) and There's No Business like Show Business (1954).
See biographies by C. Flinn and B. Kellow (both: 2007).