Vera-Ellen (February 16, 1921 - August 30, 1981) was an American actress and stage and film dancer, principally celebrated for her filmed dance partnerships with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor.
She was born Vera Ellen Westmeier Rohe in Norwood, Ohio to Martin Rohe and Alma Catherine Westmeier, both descended from German immigrants. She began dancing at the age of 9 and quickly became very proficient. At 16, she was a winner on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, and entered upon a professional career.
In 1939, Vera-Ellen made her Broadway theatre debut in the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical Very Warm For May at the age of 18. She became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, although she was not tall. This led to roles on Broadway in Panama Hattie, By Jupiter, and A Connecticut Yankee, where she was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her opposite Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in the film Wonder Man (1945).
She appeared in several films, including White...
Created by dipity on Feb 7, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 01:34 AM
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White Christmas is a 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye that featured the songs of Irving Berlin, including the titular White Christmas. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen co-starred. It was directed by Michael Curtiz.Filming took place between September and November 1953. The movie was the first to be filmed in the new VistaVision process and its lush Technicolor cinematography has ensured that it has had a long shelf life on TV, video and DVD. Released in 1954, it became the top grossing film of that year.The movie was supposed to reunite Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin extravaganza of song and dance—the first two being Holiday Inn (1942) and Blue Skies (1946). However, Astaire bowed out after reading the script. Donald O'Connor was selected to replace Astaire, but he, too, had to pass because of an illness. O'Connor was replaced by Danny Kaye. The choreography was done by Bob Fosse, although he was uncredited.Vera-Ellen's singing was dubbed by Trudy...,
The Belle Of New York (MGM) is a 1952 Hollywood musical comedy film set in New York circa 1900 and stars Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Alice Pearce, Marjorie Main and Keenan Wynn, with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film was directed by Charles Walters.
This whimsical (even by Astaire's standards) musical failed at the box office and impressed few critics at the time, mainly due to the nature of the plot which empowers lovers to float free of the influence of gravity - a conceit reprised in the 1999 film Simply Irresistible . Astaire was reluctant to take the project - he was originally supposed to play the role in 1946 but had avoided it through retirement. Clearly stung by its failure, Astaire later claimed that the dance routines - of which there are more than usual - are of a particularly high standard - a rare verdict from such a notoriously self-critical artist. Vera-Ellen is generally viewed as one of Astaire's most technically proficient dance partners,...
Three Little Words (MGM) is a 1950 Hollywood Musical film biography of the Tin Pan Alley songwriting partnership of Kalmar and Ruby and stars Fred Astaire as lyricist Bert Kalmar, Red Skelton as composer Harry Ruby, along with Vera-Ellen, Debbie Reynolds and Arlene Dahl. The film was directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Jack Cummings. Harry Ruby served as a consultant on the project, and appears in a cameo role as a baseball-catcher.
This warm and engaging film was one of Astaire's favourites,
possibly because of the nostalgic vaudeville connection.
As Hollywood film biographies of the period go, it takes fewer liberties with the facts than usual, and Astaire and
Skelton's onscreen portrayal of the partnership is considered psychologically accurate, and is complemented by a mutual chemistry, some quality acting by both, and some fine comedy touches by Skelton. One defect - which affects quite a few MGM musicals of this period - is the top-heavy orchestration by twenty-year...
This article is about the 1949 film. For the musical see On the Town (musical).On the Town is a 1949 movie musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It was first produced on Broadway in 1944, and was made into a film in 1949.The MGM film opened on December 8, 1949. Many changes in script and score were made from the original stage version; much of Bernstein's music was dropped in favor of new songs by the studio's Roger Edens. It starred Gene Kelly as Gabey (who also co-directed with Stanley Donen), Frank Sinatra as Chip and Jules Munshin as Ozzie, as well as Ann Miller (Claire Huddesen), Betty Garrett (Hildy Esterhazy), Vera-Ellen (Ivy Smith), and Alice Pearce (Lucy Shmeeler).It is notable for its combination of studio and location filming, as a result of Gene Kelly's insistence that some scenes be shot in New York City itself. Parts of the filming were done at, for example, The American Museum of Natural History, The Brooklyn Bridge...,
Love Happy (1950) was the 13th, and virtually the last Marx Brothers' film (they would return to the big screen in 1957 for brief, separate appearances in The Story of Mankind).
The film stars Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and, in a smaller role than usual, Groucho Marx, plus Ilona Massey, Vera-Ellen, Marion Hutton, Raymond Burr, Bruce Gordon, and Eric Blore, with a memorable walk-on by a young Marilyn Monroe. It was directed by David Miller and written by Frank Tashlin and Mac Benoff and based on a story by Harpo.
The film was produced by former silent film star Mary Pickford and released by United Artists. Although shooting began in August 1948, the film was not released until 3 March 1950. The production ran out of money during shooting, so they came up with a unique form of product placement (still rare at the time): a rooftop chase around advertising billboards.
Harpo is up to his usual antics when he steals a tin of sardines and accidentally bags the Romanoff diamonds. The film was...
Words and Music was the title of a 1948 movie based on the lives of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The film starred Mickey Rooney and is best remembered for the final screen pairing between Rooney and Judy Garland.
The Kid from Brooklyn is 1946 comedy film starring Danny Kaye and co-starring Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen, Steve Cochran, and Eve Arden, about a milkman who becomes world boxing champion.
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod and produced by Samuel Goldwyn, it is a remake of the 1936 Harold Lloyd film The Milky Way.Shy milkman Burleigh Sullivan accidentally knocks out drunken Speed McFarlane, a champion boxer who was flirting with Burleigh's sister. The newspapers get hold of the story and photographers even catch Burleigh knock out Speed again. Speed's crooked manager decides to turn Burleigh into a fighter. Burleigh doesn't realize that all of his opponents have been asked to take a dive. Thinking he really is a great fighter, Burleigh develops a swelled head which puts a crimp in his relationship with pretty nightclub singer Polly Pringle. He may finally get his comeuppance when he challenges Speed for the title.
Wonder Man is a 1945 movie starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo. It is based on a short story by Arthur Sheekman, adapted for the screen by a staff of writers led by Jack Jevne and Eddie Moran, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and directed by H. Bruce Humberstone.
Danny Kaye plays a double role as a pair of estranged "super-identical twins", with very similar looks, but very different personalities. Buster Dingle, who goes by the stage name "Buzzy Bellow" is a loud and goofy performer at a classy nightclub (the Pelican Club), while Edwin Dingle is a studious, quiet bookworm writing a history book. The two brothers have not seen each other for years.
Buster becomes the witness to a murder committed by mob boss "Ten Grand" Jackson (Steve Cochran), and is promptly murdered himself. He comes back as a ghost, calling on his long-lost brother for help to bring the killer to justice. As a result, the shy Edwin must take his brother's place until after his testimony is given.
In the meantime, he...
Vera-Ellen was born