Ethel Merman was the leading American musical theater performer of her generation, creating roles in 13 Broadway musicals between 1930 and 1959, and continuing to appear in shows occasionally through 1970. Her clarion voice and exact enunciation were perfect for an era when a stage performer was required to sing loud enough to be heard at the back of the theater without amplification. That made her a favorite of the leading songwriters of the day, and she introduced some of the most memorable songs of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Her Broadway stardom, at a time when the musical theater was a major source for American popular music, nationally afforded her opportunities in other areas of entertainment including personal appearances, records, movies, radio, and television. But her real home was on the Broadway stage, and that's where she spent the bulk of her time for 40 years.