Marilyn Monroe (born
Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress,
model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of
commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.
much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which
led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances
were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both
1950), drew attention. By 1952 she had her first leading role in Don't Bother
to Knock and 1953 brought a lead in Niagara, a melodramatic film noir that
dwelt on her seductiveness. Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to
comic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How
to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). Limited by
typecasting, Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range. Her
dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a
Golden Globe nomination. Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions,
released The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award
nomination and won a David di Donatello award. She received a Golden Globe
Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe's last completed
film was The Misfits (1961), co-starring Clark Gable with screenplay by her
then-husband, Arthur Miller.
The final years
of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation
for unreliability and being difficult to work with. The circumstances of her
death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture.
Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibility
of an accidental overdose, as well as of homicide, have not been ruled out. In
1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth-greatest female star of all time by the
American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been
cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American
sex symbol. In 2009, TV Guide Network named her No. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women
of All Time.
The life of
Marilyn Monroe knows many variations. Her official website, marilynmonroe.com,
seems to hold the most flourishing version, here is no mention of the possible
incest or neglect by her alcoholic mother. On other websites such as
wikipedia.com, and in some biographies, this is called forward. There are many
different versions about why Marilyn married her childhood sweetheart, and
there are numerous theories surrounding her death. Even her name seems to be
ambiguous, on one website they called Norma Jeane Baker, on the other Norma
Jean Mortensen. It is said that Monroe was Marilyn's middle name, others say it
was the name of her grandmother, or mother. This shows that a clear
biographical story about Marilyn Monroe writing is more difficult than it
seems. The following biography is based on the following two books: Movie
Icons: Marilyn MonroeDuncan in 2006 and Marilyn: Life of a LegendEvans in
do not always agree apparent when you compare the two books together. In Duncans
Movie Icons: Marilyn Monroe in 2006 called Marilyn's mother Gladys Monroe
example, in Evans Marilyn: Life of a legend
from 2004 called her mother Gladys Baker. In Evans (2004) also reported
that Marilyn lived here in 1933 with her mother while she lived. Before that
time in foster care Around 1935 Marilyn than a few years living with a friend
of her mother, before she marries shortly after obtaining her high school
diploma with her neighbor. Duncan (2006), however, regarded the years 1926 to
1942 as a period in which Marilyn staying in foster care, a period in which
they escaped by marrying her. Neighbor James Dougherty Marilyn was just 16
years old. Exist only for the first 16 years of the life of Marilyn Monroe as
seen many different stories. Both on the Internet and in books is therefore not
entirely clear how her life really has expired. Therefore, the main features
described in this biography mainly of her life the things that both books agree
The young Norma
In Los Angeles,
California, is 1926 Norma Jean (e) Mortenson was born on June 1. Since the
identity of her father is unknown, the girl later renamed Norma Jeane Baker,
her mother, Gladys Baker. Gladys Baker was shortly after the birth of her
daughter admitted to an asylum because of problems with her mental health. This
she also lost her job. Norma Jean (e) brought this as well as her entire
childhood in foster homes, until they just graduated from high school on June
19, 1942, and only 16 years, marries her neighbor, James Dougherty. Around 1944
works Norma Jean (e) a time on the assembly line for the Radio Plane Company in
Burbank, before starting to work as a model. In June 1946 Norma Jean (e)
requires the separation of Dougerty to. Shortly after following her first
screen test with the film company 20th Century Fox (Fox). If they sign a
contract with this company, they do so under the name 'Marilyn Monroe'. In both
2006 and Duncan Evans 2004 there is no agreement the origin of its new name, it
was a family name, or the name was coined by a movie agent?
Monroe appears in the film Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! in 1947. Because Fox does
not renew her contract, Marilyn signed in 1948 with the film company Columbia
Pictures, but this contract is not extended. In the same year met Marilyn movie
agent Johnny Hyde, who accompanies her in 1950 from then until his death, and
that Monroe put on the map as a movie star. In 1949 Marilyn posed nude for a
calendar of Tom Kelly, an image that will be world famous. Later Her
breakthrough film follows the same year, The Asphalt Jungle , a film by MGM.
After her role in All About Eve draws Marilyn, just before Hyde died in 1950,
again a movie contract with Fox. Marilyn Monroe is becoming better known and
more popular, partly because magazines articles are devoted to her and she reaches
an Oscar at the Academy Awards.
In the year 1952
Marilyn married again, this time with the world-famous baseball player Joe
Dimaggio. In the same year it creates a scandal surrounding her previous nude
calendar, and Marilyn plays the lead role in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
. Her career is starting to get off the ground and although they suspended in
1954 by her film company 20th Century Fox, she holds a series of concerts in
Korea for American soldiers. In 1954 Marilyn plays in the film that perhaps has the
most famous image of the movie star, the scene of billowing white
dress in the film The Seven Year Itch. Two years after her second marriage,
the separation of Monroe and Dimaggio consummated. In 1955 Marilyn then starts
an acting training, and she founded her own production company, Marilyn Monroe
Productions. And again it is suspended by Fox film company. However, there is
again concluded a contract between Fox and Marilyn Monroe in 1956. She also
married in this year for the third time, this time with Arthur Miller, a famous
playwright. In the same year Marilyn gets her first miscarriage. In 1957,
according to Evans (2004) a pregnancy aborted and the story circulating on the Internet
than twelve times Marilyn has had an abortion. Duncan (2006) report that only
Marilyn in a period of three years ('56-'58) three times miscarried. The
following year, in 1959, the film Some Like It Hot came out.
In 1960, Marilyn
has a nervous breakdown while she is shooting for her new film The Misfits.
The following year, following the separation of Arthur Miller. Where Evans
(2004) mentions her admission to a psychiatric clinic, beats Duncan (2006) over
this period. Marilyn Monroe met Robert Kennedy in 1961, and President JF
Kennedy. In 1962 she sang at Madison Square Garden the song 'Happy Birthday' to
President JF Kennedy, official recordings of this are still to be found on
YouTube. Again this year there are problems with film company Fox, Marilyn is
dismissed for breach of contract, but a few weeks later rehired at a higher
salary. The filming of the movie (with the significant title) Something's Gotta
Give resumes. Four August 1962 is the last day that Marilyn Monroe is seen
alive. Surrounding her death is much speculation, so she would be commissioned
by the Kennedys, given the suspected affair that Marilyn had with both
President JF Kennedy and Robert Kennedy killed.
died at the age of 36 from an overdose.
On August 5, 1962
is known that Marilyn Monroe died, and that it is assumed that they are
committed by an overdose to take medications. Suicide It is never entirely
clear whether Marilyn really committed suicide or that she overdosed on pills
has swallowed accidentally. Marlilyn Monroe is buried in Westwood Memorial Park
Cemetery three days later.
In contemporary popular culture, it is
often stereotyped that men find blond women more attractive than women with
other hair colors. For example, Anita Loos popularized this idea in her 1925
novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Blondes are often assumed to have more fun; for
example, in a Clairol commercial for hair colorant, they use the phrase
"Is it true blondes have more fun?" Some women have reported they
feel other people expect them to be more fun-loving after having lightened
their hair. The "blonde stereotype" is also associated with being
less serious or less intelligent. This can be seen in blonde jokes. It is
believed the originator of the "dumb blonde" was an 18th century blonde
French prostitute named Rosalie Duthé whose reputation of being beautiful but
dumb inspired a play about her called Les Curiosites de la Foire (Paris 1775).
Blonde actresses have contributed to this perception; some of them include
Marilyn Monroe, Judy Holliday, Jayne Mansfield, and Goldie Hawn during her time
preferred to cast blonde women for major roles in his films as he believed that
the audience would suspect them the least, comparing them to "virgin snow
that shows up the bloody footprints", hence the term "Hitchcock
blonde". This stereotype has become so ingrained it has spawned
counter-narratives, such as in the 2001 film Legally Blonde in which Reese
Witherspoon succeeds at Harvard despite biases against her beauty and blonde
hair, and terms developed such as cookie cutter blond (CCB), implying
standardized blond looks and standard perceived social and intelligence
characteristics of a blond. Many actors and actresses in Latin America and
Hispanic United States seem to have Nordic features—blond hair, blue eyes, and
French, "ma blonde" means "my girlfriend", regardless of
the color of the specific woman's hair. Such is for example the reference in
the name of the still-current 17th century chanson "Auprès de ma
stereotype, the stereotypical perception of blond-haired women, has two
aspects. On one hand, over history, blonde hair in women has been considered
attractive and desirable. On the other hand, a blonde woman is often perceived
as making little use of intelligence and as a "woman who relied on her
looks rather than on intelligence." The latter stereotype of "dumb
blonde" is exploited in blonde jokes.
Blonde hair has
been considered attractive for long periods of time in various European
cultures, particularly when coupled with blue eyes. This perception is exploited
in culture and advertising.
divides blonde stereotypes in cinema into three categories in The Women's Companion
to International Film:
blonde: Kuhn defined it as "a blonde who hides a fire beneath an exterior
of coldness". She provided Grace Kelly, Veronica Lake, Kim Novak, Mae
Murray, and Eva Marie Saint as examples.
The blonde bombshell: Kuhn defined it as
"a blonde with explosive sexuality and is available to men at a
price". She provided Brigitte Bardot, Lana Turner, Jean Harlow, Joan
Blondell, Mae West, Barbara Eden, Marilyn Monroe, and Diana Dors as examples.
The dumb blonde: Kuhn defined it as "a
blonde with an overt and natural sexuality and a profound manifestation of
ignorance". She provided Jayne Mansfield, Marion Davies, Alice White,
Marie Wilson, and Mamie Van Doren as examples.
psychological research, hair color is a relevant trait in the perception of an
individual’s intelligence and overall ability. In a study by Kyle and Mahler
(1996), the researchers asked subjects to evaluate photographs of the same
woman with brown, red, and blonde hair in the context of a job application.
After making sure that the hair color in all three conditions was rated as
looking “natural” (not dyed) in a pilot study, participants in Kyle and
Mahler’s study, both males and females, were asked to rate the applicant’s
capability based on the photograph for an accounting position.
found that the blonde-haired applicant was rated as significantly less capable
than her brunette doppelganger. In addition, participants designated the female
applicant’s starting salary as significantly lower when she was depicted as a
blonde than when she was shown with brown hair.
Mamie Van Doren
associated with females, the application of the dumb blonde stereotype can be
applied to men as well. A study that looked at the CEOs of the London Financial
Times Stock Exchange’s (FTSE) top 500 companies investigated how hair color
could be a potential barrier to professional success. Because it has been shown
that blonde hair is associated with incompetency, it was hypothesized that
there would be fewer blonde CEOs among this group – a group of individuals that
is viewed as extremely competent – than was representative of the general
population. According to the CIA Fact Book at the time of the study, the
distribution of individuals who have naturally blonde hair in the UK is
approximately 25%, while the study found that only 25 (5%) of the 500 CEOs were
blonde. Furthermore, only two (0.4%) of these CEOs were women, neither of whom
happened to have blonde hair.
The question that
remains, then, is why is it that blondes are generally rated as less competent
than those who have other hair colors? One theory focuses on the feminization
of blonde hair, which can be seen by the overwhelming association of the dumb blonde
persona with females. This idea draws on the stereotype that females have a
lower psychometric intelligence than males.
There is a
category of jokes called "blonde jokes" that employs the dumb blonde
stereotype. It overlaps at times with the jokes that generally portray the
subject of the joke as promiscuous and/or stupid.
In fact, dumb
blonde jokes are overwhelmingly female-specific: according to an extensive
search in various publications and on the Internet, about 63% of dumb blonde
jokes are directed exclusively at females (compared to less than 5% that directly
referenced dumb blonde men). Consequently, blonde-haired individuals –
regardless of if they are male or female – may be viewed as less capable
because they are regarded as more feminine and thus less intelligent.
Blonde jokes have
been criticized as sexist by several authors, as most blondes in these jokes
are female, although male variations also exist. Research indicates that
because of this, men report being amused by blonde jokes significantly more
than women do.
nearly always take the format of the blond(e) placing himself or herself in an
unusual situation, performing a silly act because he or she misconstrued the
meaning of how an activity is supposed to play out, or making a comment that
serves to highlight his or her supposed lack of intelligence, lack of common
sense, or cluelessness, or promiscuity.
Dumb Male Blonde
men were sitting in a bar, drinking
how stupid their wives were.
The first says,
"I tell you, my wife is so stupid. Last
week she went to
the supermarket and bought $300 worth
of meat because
it was on sale, and we don't even have
a fridge big
enough to keep it in!"
The second agrees
that she sounds pretty thick, but
says his wife is
thicker." Just last week, she went out
and spent $17000
on a new car" he laments, "and she
doesn't even know
how to drive!"
The third, a
blond male, nods sagely and agrees that
these two women
sound like they both walked through
the stupid forest
and got hit by every
he still thinks his wife is dumber." I
have to laugh
every time I think about it," he
"Last week my wife left on a vacation to Greece.
I watched her
packing her bags and she must
have taken at
least 5 boxes of condoms with her.
She doesn't even
have a penis!"
By Dimitri S
Irishman, a Mexican and a blonde guy were doing construction work on
scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the
Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage
one more time for lunch I'm going to jump off this building." The Mexican
opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one
more time I'm going to jump off, too." The blond opened his lunch and
said, "Bologna again. If I get a bologna sandwich one more
time, I'm jumping too."
The next day the Irishman opened his lunch
box, saw corned beef and cabbage and jumped to his death. The Mexican opened
his lunch, saw a burrito and jumped too. The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw
the bologna and jumped to his death as well.
At the funeral
the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired
he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him
again!" The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given
him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much."
Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. "Hey, don't look at
me," she said, "He makes his own lunch."
Natural lighter hair colors occur most
often in Europe and less frequently in other areas. In Northern European
populations, the occurrence of blond hair is very frequent. The hair color gene
MC1R has at least seven variants in Europe giving the continent a wide range of hair and eye shades. Based on
recent genetic research carried out at three Japanese universities, the date of
the genetic mutation that resulted in blond hair in Europe has been isolated to
about 11,000 years ago during the last ice age.
A typical explanation found in the
scientific literature for the evolution of light hair is related to the
requirement for vitamin D synthesis and northern Europe's seasonal deficiency of
sunlight. Lighter skin is due to a low concentration in pigmentation, thus
allowing more sunlight to trigger the production of vitamin D. In this way,
high frequencies of light hair in northern latitudes are a result of the light
skin adaptation to lower levels of sunlight, which reduces the prevalence of
rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency. The darker pigmentation at higher
latitudes in certain ethnic groups such as the Inuit is explained by a greater
proportion of seafood in their diet. As seafood is high in vitamin D, vitamin D
deficiency would not create a selective pressure for lighter pigmentation in
An alternative hypothesis was presented by
Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, who claims blond hair evolved very quickly
in a specific area at the end of the last ice age by means of sexual selection.
According to Frost, the appearance of blond hair and blue eyes in some northern
European women made them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition
for scarce males.
A theory propounded in The History and
Geography of Human Genes (1994), says blond hair became predominant in Northern
Europe beginning about 3,000 BC, in the area now known as Lithuania, among the
recently arrived Proto-Indo-European settlers (according to the Kurgan
hypothesis), and the trait spread quickly through sexual selection into
Scandinavia. As above, the theory assumes that men found women with blond hair
It is now hypothesized by researchers that
blond hair evolved more than once. Published in May 2012 in Science, a study of
people from the Solomon
Islands in Melanesia found that an amino
acid change in TYRP1 produced blonde hair.
(Tyrosinase-related protein 1, also known
as TYRP1, is an enzyme which in humans is encoded by the TYRP1 gene)
Blond or blonde, or fair hair, is a hair
color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant
visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some sort of yellowish
color. The color can be from the very pale blond (caused by a patchy, scarce
distribution of pigment) to reddish "strawberry" blond colors or
golden-brownish ("sandy") blond colors (the latter with more
eumelanin). On the Fischer–Saller scale blond color ranges from A to J (blond
brown), the RGB color value is typically #FAF0BE (250,240,190).
Blond or Blonde
Etymology, spelling, and grammar
The word "blond" is first attested
in English in 1481 and derives from Old French blund, blont meaning "a
colour midway between golden and light chestnut". It gradually eclipsed
the native term "fair", of same meaning, from Old English fæġer, to
become the general term for "light complexioned". The French (and
thus also the English) word "blond" has two possible origins. Some
linguists say it comes from Medieval Latin blundus, meaning "yellow",
from Old Frankish blund which would relate it to Old English blonden-feax
meaning "grey-haired", from blondan/blandan meaning "to
mix" (Cf. blend). Also, Old English beblonden meant "dyed" as
ancient Germanic warriors were noted for dying their hair. However, linguists
who favor a Latin origin for the word say that Medieval Latin blundus was a
vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning yellow. Most authorities,
especially French, attest the Frankish origin. The word was reintroduced into
English in the 17th century from French, and was for some time considered French;
in French, "blonde" is a feminine adjective; it describes a woman
with blond hair.
Brad Pitt Cannes 2012
British actor Daniel
Craig named as the first blond Bond
"Blond", with its continued
gender-varied usage, is one of few adjectives in written English to retain
separate masculine and feminine grammatical genders. Each of the two forms,
however, is pronounced identically. American Heritage's Book of English Usage
propounds that, insofar as "a blonde" can be used to describe a woman
but not a man who is merely said to possess blond(e) hair, the term is an
example of a "sexist stereotype [whereby] women are primarily defined by
their physical characteristics." The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
records that the phrase "big blond beast" was used in the 20th
century to refer specifically to men "of the Nordic type" (that is to
say, blond-haired). Particularly this had associations with Friedrich
Nietzsche's Übermensch. The OED also records that blond as an adjective is
especially used with reference to women, in which case it is likely to be spelt
"blonde", citing three Victorian usages of the term. The masculine
version is used to describe a plural, in "blonds of the European
race", in a citation from 1833 Penny cyclopedia, which distinguishes
genuine blondness as a Caucasian feature distinct from albinism. By the early
1990s, "blonde moment" or being a "dumb blonde" had come
into common parlance to mean "an instance of a person, esp. a woman... being
foolish or scatter-brained." Another hair color word of French origin,
brunet(te) (from the same Germanic root that gave "brown"), also
functions in the same way in orthodox English. The OED gives "brunet"
as meaning "dark-complexioned" or a "dark-complexioned
person", citing a comparative usage of brunet and blond to Thomas Henry
Huxley in saying, "The present contrast of blonds and brunets existed
among them". "Brunette" can be used, however, like
"blonde", to describe a mixed-gender populace. The OED quotes Grant
Allen, "The nation which resulted... being sometimes blonde, sometimes
"Blond" and "blonde"
are also occasionally used to refer to objects that have a color reminiscent of
fair hair. Examples include pale wood and lager beer. For example, the OED
records its use in 19th century poetic diction to describe flowers, "a
variety of clay ironstone of the coal measures", "the colour of raw
silk", and a breed of ray.
Hello My Name Is... is the debut studio
album by American actress, musician, and singer-songwriter Bridgit Mendler (born
1992) released on October 22, 2012, through Hollywood Records. The first single of the album,
"Ready or Not", was released on August 7, 2012.
It premiered on August 3, 2012, and was released
as a digital download on August 7, 2012. The song was
written by Mendler herself, Emanuel "Eman" Kiriakou and Evan
"Kidd" Bogart. The song debuted at number 98 and peaked at number 49
on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was later certified Gold in Canada
and Platinum in New
Zealand. She has
used three more songs to promote her album: "Hurricane"; which is the
official second single off of the album, "Forgot to Laugh" and
"Top of the World".
The album has
received generally positive reviews from music critics.
The song "Blonde"
is a little clichéd but ends up as a convincing argument that hair color isn't
a gauge of brains.
Thursday May 23 2013, is recorded as the
coldest May 23 ever in the Netherlands. It was not warmer than 10.3 degrees Celsius. The old
record was about 10.4 degrees, in 1975. The lowest temperature measured was
Thursday in South Limburg. There it was locally not warmer than 8.4 degrees. On average the
temperature around this time in May is 18 degrees.
After this weekend the Netherlands slowly move to temperatures with normal values.
Gladly we have DJ Infa, this Saturday,
to cheer us up.
Saturday it is also 135 years a go that the
American stage and screen dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (5/25/1878 - 11/25/1949) was born. So come to T.R.A.C.S, dance and get warm.
So, the inspiration for the song, Mr.
Bojangles, was not the famous stage and movie dancer Bill "Bojangles"
"Bojangles" Robinson (May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949) was an
American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Audiences enjoyed his
understated style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug in favor
of cool and reserve; rarely did he use his upper body, relying instead on busy,
inventive feet, and an expressive face.
A figure in both
the black and white entertainment worlds of his era, he is best known today for
his dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films during the 1930s, and for
starring in the 1943 musical Stormy Weather, loosely based on Robinson's own
The name Bojangles
Bill Robinson lost both parents when he was
a young boy, and by the time he was six Robinson was dancing in beer gardens
and on neighborhood street corners. All his life he carried the nickname
“Bojangles,” but he could never be quite sure why. One story was that some of
his friends had stolen a hat from a Broad Street
haberdasher named Boujasson. He inherited the hat, along with the name
youthfully mispronounced “Bojangles.”
Another story is that he, as young man,
earned the nickname "Bojangles" for his contentious tendencies.
"African-American writer Donald Bogle
called him “the quintessential Tom” because of his cheerful and shameless
subservience to whites in film. But in real life, Bill "Bojangles"
Robinson, was the sort of man who, when refused service at an all-white
luncheonette, would lay his pearl-handled revolver on the counter and demand to
Bojangles life and dead
Bill Robinson began dancing in local
saloons at the age of six. He soon dropped out of school to pursue dancing as a
career. He became a popular fixture on the vaudeville circuit just two years
after that. His first professional gig was the part of a “pickaninny” role in
the show “The South Before the War” which toured the northeast. By 1900, he had
made his way to New York and Robinson rapidly rose to become one of America’s
best loved nightclub and musical comedy performers.
In 1908, Robinson met Marty Forkins, who
became his manager. Forkins urged Robinson to develop his solo act in
nightclubs. Robinson took a break from performance to serve as a rifleman in
World War I. Along with fighting in the trenches, Robinson was also a drum
major who led the regimental band up Fifth Avenue
upon the regiment's return from Europe.
In 1928, he starred on Broadway in the
hugely successful musical revue Blackbirds of 1928, which featured his famous
"stair dance." Blackbirds was a revue starring African-American
performers, intended for white audiences. The show was a breakthrough for
Robinson. He became well known as "Bojangles," which connoted a
cheerful and happy-go-lucky demeanor for his white fans, despite the nearly
polar-opposite meaning of the nickname in the black community. His catchphrase,
"Everything's copasetic," reinforced Robinson's sunny disposition.
Although he worked regularly as an actor, Robinson was best known for his
tap-dance routines. He pioneered a new form of tap, shifting from a flat-footed
style to a light, swinging style that focused on elegant footwork.
not the conventional shuffling flat-footed style, but instead he danced with a
light, swaying style on the balls of his feet. He refined the “stair dance” in
the 1928 Broadway review Blackbirds and then with Shirley Temple in the 1935
movie The Little Colonel.
Rarely did he
depart from the stereotype imposed by Hollywood writers. In a small vignette in
Hooray for Love he played a mayor of Harlem modeled after his own ceremonial
honor; in One Mile from Heaven, he played a romantic lead opposite
African-American actress Fredi Washington after Hollywood had relaxed its taboo
against such roles for blacks. He only appeared in one film intended for black
audiences, Harlem is Heaven, a financial failure that turned him away from
In 1939, he
returned to the stage in The Hot Mikado, a jazz version of the Gilbert and
Sullivan operetta produced at the 1939 New York World's Fair, which was one of
the greatest hits of the fair. His next performance, in All in Fun (1940),
failed to attract audiences. His last theatrical project was to have been Two
Gentlemen from the South, with James Barton, in which the black and white roles
reverse and eventually come together as equals, but the show did not open.
Thereafter, he confined himself to occasional performances, but he could still
dance well in his late sixties, to the continual astonishment of his admirers.
He explained this extraordinary versatility—he once danced for more than an
hour before a dancing class without repeating a step—by insisting that his feet
responded directly to the music without his head having nothing to do with it
continued to dance into his 60s; however, due to a penchant for gambling and a
generous spirit, he died penniless in New York in 1949 at the age of
seventy-one. He was mourned by many fans, tens of thousands of whom attended
his funeral which was said to be one of New York’s largest up to that time.