Archive for Dancers

Gregory Hines

Posted in St. Volodymyr's Cemetery with tags , , , on August 18, 2019 by Cade

February 14, 1946 – August 9, 2003

Tony and Emmy award-winning dancer, singer and actor, Gregory Hines, was always on the stage. From a young age, Gregory (along with brother, Maurice, and sometimes their father) would entertain audiences in nightclubs throughout their native New York City. Especially adept at tap dancing, young Gregory eventually headed to Hollywood and found work as a musician and actor. Continue reading

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon

Posted in Cremated with tags , on July 8, 2019 by Cade

fosse_verdon1June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987
January 13, 1925 – October 18, 2000

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon first met in 1955 on the original Broadway production of Damn Yankees. Fosse had found his way to Broadway via military variety shows and a brief stint in Hollywood. He had just come off the success of choreographing his first major show, The Pajama Game, when he was hired to do the same for Yankees. Verdon – already a Tony-winning dancer and featured actress – was given the chance at her first lead in the Adler/Ross musical comedy. The success of Yankees and the instant personal connection between star and choreographer led to one of the more intriguing and volatile partnerships in theatre history. Continue reading

Eleanor Powell

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on October 1, 2018 by Cade

November 21, 1912 – February 11, 1982

Once – and perhaps always – the greatest tap dancer in the world, Eleanor Powell shuffled and clicked her way from Broadway to Hollywood. Her transition from stage to screen wasn’t idyllic. She initially disliked the the film-making culture and process and when MGM came calling, she made unreasonably high demands to avoid being signed. MGM did not care. They met her demands and she went on to shine in many of the studio’s golden age musicals alongside the likes of Fred Astaire, Nelson Eddy and Jimmy Stewart. Continue reading

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

Posted in The Evergreens with tags , , on December 12, 2016 by Cade

bojangles1May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson began his life as Luther Robinson in Richmond, VA where he learned to dance for pennies on the street. Busking led to bit parts and “picknaninny” roles in local minstrel shows. This led to predominantly-white vaudeville shows…and then he went to work.

Widely regarded for his tap dancing prowess and innovation, he busted through the racial barriers of his day at every level, eventually becoming one of the first Black solo performers in vaudeville and, ultimately, making a name for himself on Broadway. Continue reading

Betty Grable

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , on September 26, 2013 by Cade

grable1December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973

I had a professor in college who would constantly – and without prompting – tell us: “Betty Grable had the best legs I have ever seen.” Well, this one’s for you, Dr. Wright!

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was an actress, singer and dancer who was a fixture in the hey dey of the American film musical. Her looks, and yes, her legs, made her a very poplular star. In fact, she was Farrah Fawcett some 30 years before Farrah ever donned that red swimsuit. A pin-up photo of Betty in a bathing suit (see the photo on the vase on her grave below) became an icon and one of the most recognizable photos of the World War II era. The movie studio she was under contract with insured her gams for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London. This was serious business.

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Ann Miller

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on September 15, 2013 by Cade

miller1April 12, 1923 – January 22, 2004

Ann Miller (born Johnnie Lucille Collier…yes, Johnnie, her father wanted a boy) was a popular dancer, singer and actress.  Discovered as a young teenager – she lied about her age – she went on to be a staple figure in the heyday of the MGM movie musicals of the 1940s and ’50s. She enjoyed success beyond that, appearing on stage and in television and films well into her 70s. She was largely responsible for the rise in popularity of pantyhose during her work in Hollywood. Being a dancer, this was not a surprise as she had – along with fellow hoofers Betty Grable and Cyd Charisse – some of the most famous legs in the world at the time. Miller died of lung cancer at the age of 80 in 2004. Continue reading

Gypsy Rose Lee

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on July 2, 2013 by Cade

Gypsy Rose Lee

January 8, 1911 – April 26, 1970

As strippers go, they don’t come much more famous than Gypsy Rose Lee.

Ok…perhaps “burlesque artist” is more appropriate, what with all the negative connotations associated with the term “stripper” these days. Either way, Gypsy (born Ellen Hovick – officially in 1911; unofficially in 1914) turned her talents for the classic striptease and her wit to her advantage and became one of the most popular entertainers of her era starring in film and television long after the music ended at the old burlesque hall. And, she didn’t stop there. Continue reading

Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , , on March 19, 2013 by Cade


March 8, 1922 – June 17, 2008


December 25, 1913 – July 27, 2012

Actress/dancer Cyd Charisse and crooner Tony Martin were married for 60 years, a rarity for a Hollywood couple.

Charisse (born Tula Ellice Finklea) had a storied career throughout the so-called Golden-Age of Hollywood.  Her stunning looks and remarkable dancing made her a popular star.  She is probably most known to audiences for her turn opposite Gene Kelly in the “Broadway Melody Ballet” in 1952’s Singin’ In The Rain.

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Ray Bolger

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade


January 10, 1904 – January 15, 1987

Song and dance man, Ray Bolger, had quite the stage and film career going when he stumbled upon a little role as a scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.  Total career killer that one.

Seriously, though, Bolger was immensely talented and any lack of recognition of his work outside of Oz is strictly on us.  We suck.


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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Posted in Forest Lawn Glendale with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2013 by Cade


December 08, 1925 – May 16, 1990


The inscription on Sammy Davis, Jr.’s grave marker could not be more accurate.  He DID do it all.  The multi-talented singer/dancer/actor/impersonator was a dynamo packed into a skinny, 5′ 5″ frame. By the age of 3, he was already performing on stage with his father, Sammy Davis, Sr. and Will Mastin as part of the Will Mastin Trio (Davis, Sr. and Mastin are also buried at Forest Lawn Glendale, right next to Sammy.) His career would see great heights despite personal setbacks.  In 1954, Davis was in a serious car crash that resulted in the loss of his left eye, something he would use to his own self-deprecating sense of humor throughout his life.  He found even greater fame along side pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the legendary Rat Pack. The friends remained close throughout their lives and Sinatra remarked upon his death that Sammy was “one of the finest human beings I ever knew in my life.”

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