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Overview for Christopher Gable
Christopher Gable

Christopher Gable



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Also Known As: Died: October 23, 1998
Born: March 13, 1940 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: Cast ... dancer actor director


Famed British ballet star Christopher Gable made an uncommonly successful transition to acting, performing significantly in both film and theater. The lanky, blond, London-born dancer began his career on scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. Upon graduation in 1956. Gable began working in opera ballet with contemporary Lynn Seymour. The two then joined the Royal Ballet Touring company, and in 1960 he won his first big stage role in "The Invitation," cast opposite Seymour at her recommendation. The following year, they were again paired in the premiere of "The Two Pigeons." While with the touring company of the Royal Ballet, Gable danced leading roles in "The Sleeping Beauty," "Swan Lake," "La Fille Mal Gardee" and "Sylvia." 1963 saw Gable transfer from touring to the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, performing in productions of "Coppelia," "Giselle," "Daphnis and Chloe" and "Cinderella." The Gable and Seymour pairing became known as a powerfully complementary team whose exceptional dancing proficiency was matched by their strong acting skills. In this capacity they were cast as Romeo and Juliet in MacMillan's 1965 ballet production of Shakespeare's play. While the roles were created by Gable and Seymour, they were removed from the premiere cast and replaced by Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, more well-known dancers considered to be bigger box-office draws. Gable went on to get rave reviews for his work in subsequent performances of the ballet, and the next year he had a successful run as the Joker in John Cranko's ballet "Card Game."

After leaving the Royal Ballet because of chronic problems with arthritis in his feet, Gable tried his hand at acting, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. He performed in productions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Hamlet" as well as various roles in theaters in Oxford, Manchester and Bristol. In 1970, Gable appeared in Ken Russell's adaptation of D H Lawrence's "Women In Love," marking the first of many collaborations with the renowned director. He had starring roles in "The Music Lovers" and the more popular "The Boy Friend" (both 1971), both with Russell acting as producer and director. Gable is probably best remembered by moviegoers as Tony, the boyfriend of Twiggy's Polly in the latter, a film which showcased his talents for singing and dancing as well as acting. He was also featured in "The Slipper and the Rose" (1976), a musical retelling of the Cinderella story, starring Richard Chamberlain. In 1977, he appeared on US television as Pierre in the NBC TV movie adaptation of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." He returned to the small screen in 1984, acting in the popular syndicated miniseries "A Woman of Substance" and reteamed with Ken Russell for the thriller "The Lair of the White Worm" (1987) and another D H Lawrence adaptation, "The Rainbow" (1988).

In 1982, Gable opened the Central School of Ballet in Clerkenwell, England. He was brought back to the stage in the role of painter L S Lowry in Northern Ballet Theatre's production of "A Simple Man" in 1987. Gable later took over as director of the Northern Ballet Theatre, breathing new life into the company with productions such as "Dracula" and "Don Quixote." NBT's production of "A Christmas Carol," with Gable as artistic director, was aired on A&E in 1994. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 1996, and continued to work with the Northern Ballet Theatre in a creative and directorial capacity through 1998, when illness forced him to leave the position.

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