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Eleanor Powell

Eleanor Powell

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Also Known As: Eleanor Torrey Powell Died: February 11, 1982
Born: November 21, 1912 Cause of Death: ovarian cancer
Birth Place: Springfield, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Ever-smiling, world-class tap artist who danced her way through a dozen successful MGM musicals in the late 1930s and early 40s before retiring from the screen--save for a guest role in "The Duchess of Idaho" (1950). Typically cast as the determined hopeful whose talent and determination get her to the top, Powell was not a major actress, but she did display exuberance and a certain tongue-in-cheek charm, and her aggressive, androgynous dancing style made her as familiar a sight in top hat and tails as Fred Astaire.Powell's best films include "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935), which made her a star, its two sequels from 1938 and 1940 (the latter featuring her legendary "Begin the Beguine" duet with Astaire), and "Born to Dance" (1936). Generally a solo dancer, the acrobatic Powell did have George Murphy on hand in several films as a partner; she also teamed with comedian Red Skelton for three films, the best of which is "Ship Ahoy" (1942). Married to actor Glenn Ford from 1943 to 1959, Powell hosted an acclaimed religious program in the 1950s and later performed occasionally onstage and in nightclubs.

Ever-smiling, world-class tap artist who danced her way through a dozen successful MGM musicals in the late 1930s and early 40s before retiring from the screen--save for a guest role in "The Duchess of Idaho" (1950). Typically cast as the determined hopeful whose talent and determination get her to the top, Powell was not a major actress, but she did display exuberance and a certain tongue-in-cheek charm, and her aggressive, androgynous dancing style made her as familiar a sight in top hat and tails as Fred Astaire.

Powell's best films include "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935), which made her a star, its two sequels from 1938 and 1940 (the latter featuring her legendary "Begin the Beguine" duet with Astaire), and "Born to Dance" (1936). Generally a solo dancer, the acrobatic Powell did have George Murphy on hand in several films as a partner; she also teamed with comedian Red Skelton for three films, the best of which is "Ship Ahoy" (1942). Married to actor Glenn Ford from 1943 to 1959, Powell hosted an acclaimed religious program in the 1950s and later performed occasionally onstage and in nightclubs.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
3.
 Duchess of Idaho (1950) Herself
4.
 The Great Morgan (1945)
5.
 Thousands Cheer (1944)
6.
 Sensations of 1945 (1944) Ginny Walker
7.
 I Dood It (1943) Constance Shaw
8.
 Ship Ahoy (1942) Tallulah Winters
9.
 Lady Be Good (1941) Marilyn Marsh
10.
 Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) Clare Bennett
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began ballet lessons as a child; did not study tap until much later in the mid-1920s
1925:
Hired for first professional engagement by Gus Edwards; performed at the dinner show at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey
1927:
Became emcee at the Martins Club
1929:
Broadway debut in "Follow Thru"
1930:
Film debut in a dance sequence in "Queen High"
1931:
Appeared with Anita Page and Fanny Brice in "Crazy Quilt" on Broadway
:
Achieved success on the musical comedy stage in the early 1930s; came to films known as "The World's Greatest Female Tap Dancer"
1935:
Made feature film debut in Fox's "George White's 1935 Scandals"
1935:
Became a star at MGM in "Broadway Melody of 1936"
1936:
Co-starred with James Stewart in "Born to Dance"
1937:
Had title role in "Rosalie"
1940:
Teamed with Fred Astaire in "Broadway Melody of 1940"
1941:
Saw star status slip a bit when given second lead in "Lady Be Good"; also first of three films with Red Skelton
:
Lost several roles to the much younger Judy Garland
1943:
One of many guest stars to appear in the fund-raising musical, "Thousands Cheer"
1943:
Left MGM after completing "I Dood It", co-starring Skelton
1944:
Last starring vehicle, "Sensations of 1945"
1950:
Returned to films to dance a solo routine in the Esther Williams musical, "The Duchess of Idaho"
1953:
Hosted the religious-themed TV program "Faith of Our Children"; won five local area Emmy Awards
:
Performed a nightclub act, including gigs at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas and the London Palladium
:
Resurfaced in the mid-1970s with release of compilation films "That's Entertainment" (1974) and "That's Entertainment, Part 2" (1976)
1981:
Made final TV appearance at the AFI tribute to Fred Astaire
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Jack Donahue Dance School: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Glenn Ford. Actor. Married in 1943; divorced in November 1959; reportedly he was frequently unfaithful to Powell during their marriage.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Peter Ford. Born on February 5, 1945.

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