PASSINGS: Christine Johnson Smith, Marina Semyonova, Andreas Voutsinas

Christine Johnson Smith, Broadway singer starred in 'Carousel'

Christine Johnson Smith, 98, who originated the role of Nettie Fowler in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical


when it debuted on Broadway in 1945, died Wednesday at her home in Owensboro, Ky. The Glenn Funeral Home confirmed her death but did not give the cause.

As Christine Johnson, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1943 before taking the role in "Carousel." Richard Rodgers reportedly wrote the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" with Johnson in mind.

"You could hear sobs in the audience when I sang that song," she said later.

She was born in Hopkinsville, Ky., and moved to Owensboro as a teenager, according to the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer newspaper. A mezzo-contralto, she studied at the Nashville Conservatory of Music before moving to New York in 1937.

She married Dr. Robert W. Smith in 1949 and returned to Kentucky to raise a family. The couple had two daughters.

After marrying, Smith gave voice lessons in her home. Among her students was Florence Henderson, who went on to perform on Broadway and as Carol Brady on TV's " The Brady Bunch."

Marina Semyonova, Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerina

Marina Semyonova, 102, the Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerina for two decades during the Soviet era, died Wednesday at her Moscow apartment, the Bolshoi Theater announced. The cause was not given.

Semyonova was born in St. Petersburg in 1908. She graduated from Agrippina Vaganova's ballet school in 1925 and joined the Bolshoi in 1930.

She performed with the Bolshoi until 1952. Her repertoire included Princess Florine in "Sleeping Beauty" and Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake," as well as the title characters in "Giselle," "La Esmeralda" and "Raymonda."

In 1935, she danced as a guest at the Paris Opera, where she performed "Giselle" with French star Serge Lifar.

Two years later, her husband, Lev Karakhan, a senior Soviet diplomat, was executed as part of Josef Stalin's purges.

After ending her dancing career, Semyonova worked as a ballet coach, teaching Natalia Bessmertnova, Nadezhda Pavlova, Maya Plisetskaya and Nina Sorokina, among others.


"Time goes by quickly, and life is a series of obstacles that we overcome," Semyonova, then 90, said in a 1999 New York Times article. "You have to find your own way and rely upon yourself."

Andreas Voutsinas, Greek actor and coach to Hollywood stars

Andreas Voutsinas, 79, a Greek stage director and actor who served as acting coach to several Hollywood stars including Jane Fonda, died Tuesday in an Athens hospital, according to a Greek Culture Ministry statement.

Born in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1931, Voutsinas played parts in films such as Mel Brooks' "The Producers" (as Carmen Ghia) and "History of the World: Part 1"

as well as Luc Besson's "The Big Blue."

He directed Fonda in the brief 1962 Broadway show "The Fun Couple," later describing her as "the only great love of my life."

Voutsinas also coached Anne Bancroft, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.


An earlier version of this article misspelled actress Anne Bancroft's first name as Ann.

— Times staff and wire reports