William 'Biff' McGuire, a 2-time Tony nominee (and 'South Pacific' original), dies at 94
Last Edit: WaymanWong 06:23 pm EDT 04/04/21
Posted by: WaymanWong 06:21 pm EDT 04/04/21

From the Hollywood Reporter: William "Biff" McGuire, whose Broadway career spanned seven decades and included a role in the original ''South Pacific'' and Tony-nominated turns in ''The Young Man From Atlanta'' and ''Morning's at Seven,'' has died. He was 94.

Further down in the obit: In 1949, he portrayed a radio operator in the original Broadway production of ''South Pacific,'' directed by Josh Logan and starring Mary Martin, and he even convinced Oscar Hammerstein to change a line in a song he performed, "There Is Nothing Like a Dame."

So what was the lyric change? I Googled and found the answer in a 2004 interview McGuire gave to Nancy Rosati of Talkin' Broadway:

['South Pacific'] was a wonderful time. I sang the recitative in “Nothing Like a Dame.” There was one line that Oscar Hammerstein said wasn’t working and he was going to take it away from me. I said, “Wait a minute. I don’t think it’s a very good line.” (laughs) I was much younger then. He said, “Do you think you could write a better one?” “I don’t know, but before you take it away from me, let me think about it.” He said, “Go ahead, but remember - no writer’s credit.” The original line was “Lots of things in life are beautiful, but brother, there is one thing that is not like any other.” I went upstairs and worked on it, and I finally came up with (singing) “Lots of things in life are beautiful, but brother, there is one particular thing that is nothing whatsoever in any way, shape or form like any other.” He said I could try it and I did it that night. There was a howl from the audience - it was a great line. He said, “No writer’s credit on that.” I said, “No, but I collaborated with you on it.” (laughs)
Link The Hollywood Reporter: William 'Biff' McGuire Dead: Two-Time Tony-Nominated Actor Dies at 94

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