|Anita Darian during a 1962 Showboat cast recording|
Darian, of Armenian descent and born in 1927 in Detroit, had a long and varied career that included Broadway, top opera companies and a solo recording career.
The song The Lion Sleeps Tonight, by the way, also has a long and varied career. Composed by a South African named Solomon Linda and first recorded by him in 1939, it was discovered and brought to America by Pete Seeger and has been recorded many, many times. I have to admit that I went on an iTunes buying binge one night and downloaded about 40 or 45 different versions of it. It was fun hearing the different ways people have done the song and I would have liked to set up some kind of a deal where I was woken up by a different version every morning. They are all good, especially some of the a capella ones; it's just a great song and apparently almost impossible to do badly. My favorite version is still The Tokens original 1961 recording, in no small part because of Darian, but not only that.