Friday, May 31, 2013

Carol Channing Deserves the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors!

When you try to talk about yourself, you don't know who you are, or what your like, or what your like
Episode 423 of The Muppet Show with guest star Carol Channing
to other people. And the moment you do it's a formula for yourself, and then you're imitating yourself, and then nobody likes you and they don't know why.
― Carol Channing

Carol Channing is a living legend and deserves to be recognized for her body of work.

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for Carol Channing.
I have been campaigning year after year for
her to achieve the Kennedy Center Honors. I feel that her chances this year are better than ever. Earlier this month, the Kennedy Center announced revisions to the Kennedy Center Honors selection process.

The revisions include the addition of an advisory committee comprised of artists, former Honorees, and Kennedy Center board members as well as expanded solicitation of recommendations from the general public.

You can now submit a recommendation for the Kennedy Center Honors.
As one blog I came across wrote, "
If Carol Channing didn't exist, nobody would have made her up. This singing, dancing, large-mouthed dynamo is one of America's biggest stars Her face and voice are instantly recognized from Maine to Alaska.
Her biggest triumphs have been on the Broadway stage."

I hope this blog will convince you why it should be Carol Channing if you are not already convinced.
 It seems as if my life has been devoted to keeping Carol's name in the spotlight. Lee Roy Reams, who was in Lorelei with Carol as well as the 1977 tour of Hello, Dolly AND directed Carol in her last run as Dolly in 1994 (he also was her last Cornelius Hackl) has this to say about Carol: "Carol Channing's dedication and performance quality has entertained us through many decades. She is a comic genius and deserves this award!!"

And author Carolyn Quinn wrote, "Can you imagine a world without her Dolly from Hello, Dolly, or Muzzy
Van Hossmere from Thoroughly Modern Millie, or Lorelei from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? I can't, either!
I bet you're smiling just thinking about those Carol Channing roles!"
Since her beloved Harry passed away a year and a half ago, she has maintained a very low profile. And recently her beloved cousin, Richard "Dickie" Long passed away.
The longtime Palm Springs resident was the actress’ cousin. He lived with her and her family while she was growing up.
Long lived with Channing and her parents George and Adelaide (his mother’s sister) in Seattle and San Francisco as a youngster. He was 7 when Channing was born in 1921.
Carol is an only child.

An actress and singer with a style and appearance that are difficult to define, she has been described as “a blonde, wide-eyed, long-legged, husky voiced, scatty personality” — among other things. The daughter of a Christian Science teacher, Channing moved with her family to San Francisco at an early age, and later attended Bennington College in Vermont, where she majored in drama and dance. In 1941 she appeared in Marc Blitzstein’s labor opera No for an Answer, but only for three Sunday nights. In the same year she served as Eve Arden's understudy in Let’s Face It! on Broadway, and had a small part in Proof Through the Night (1942). After playing nightclubs around New York, she returned to San Francisco in 1946 and won a part in the Hollywood revue Lend an Ear.
She became well-known after starring in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1931. The performer, known for her smile and raspy voice, won a Tony Award for Hello, Dolly!
She attended high school in San Francisco and later worked as a model in Los Angeles. She attended prestigious Bennington College in Vermont and majored in drama and dance and supplemented her work by taking parts in nearby Pocono Resort area.

Hello Dolly won ten Tony awards in 1964, including Channing's for best actress in a comedy. Jacqueline Kennedy and her two children made their first public appearance after President John F. Kennedy's death by seeing her perform in Dolly and later visited her backstage. She appeared in the film Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Her son is a Pulitizer Prize-nominated finalist cartoonist and she continues to practice her Christian Science religion.
Even Johnny Depp desires to play Carol Channing!

Carol ain't down yet. Thanks to Daniel Nardico, Carol will be appearing at The Ice Palace on August 24th with Justin Bond to reminisce about her life and career. I, for one, can't wait.  I have my tickets. In addition to Carol, Chita Rivera, Lorna Luft and Bridget Everett will also perform on Fire Island this summer as part of the "Icon Series" at the Ice Palace.

Carol's talent is historic.
She MUST be recognized. Certainly she is overdue for this honor! Not many people know that she has also put in place an educational foundation for young people in the arts. There is, in my opinion, no more deserving recipient of this fabulous award than the legendary CAROL CHANNING!

Also her tireless work to keep the arts alive in our public schools should be mentioned.I can think of no one more deserving of this honor. She is a true STAR, unique, intelligent and created the iconic DOLLY.
 Carol Channing has brought joy, laughter and happiness to thousands of people in the world. She is one of the few beloved personalities from the past that is still significant and vital. Simply adorable and certainly a Valuable Golden Thread that's part of the Tapestry of American Musical Theater History ..... a truly unique, original and integral talent!

The Honors are bestowed upon living individuals who have achieved excellence in an artistic discipline — dance, music, theater, opera, television or film. Here is how YOU can help:
Suggest and say WHY you think Carol Channing deserves the Kennedy Center Honor, and please pay it forward!

Also LIKE my page on Facebook with your comments IF you’re on Facebook CarolChanningDeservesThe2013KennedyCenterHonor

Then sign the petition:

Don’t forget to forward this to as many people as you know!
Please call me with any questions and/or suggestions!
If you have already signed the petition, please pay this forward…
Richard Skipper 845-365-0720

The story of legendary performer Carol Channing's life is as colorful as the lipstick on her big, bright smile. In CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE, director Dori Berinstein (ShowBusiness, Gotta Dance), with co-writer Adam Zucker, captures the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old icon – both onstage and off...past and present.
 A pleasant, affectionate tribute to a unique star, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life would seem to have little to recommend it to anyone but die-hard Broadway fans. But there's more than stage talk in Dori Berinstein's documentary: Hiding within it is a remarkable, moving love story.
-The Seattle Times


My hope is that ALL of you who see this blog will not just read it but will act upon it! Follow through and pay it forward...
Thank you Carol Channing for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with YOU!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


When it comes to the history of Jerry Herman’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000+ performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.”-Carol Channing


Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Please check out my blog tomorrow night celebrating an event that I am doing at Emmet's Castle in Pearl River, NY: Keeping The Arts in The Lives of Children: A Benefit For Arts Education. Please join me as I serve as Emcee and Auctioneer presented by Blue Rock School...Where Learning Comes Alive!

Richard Skipper,                            

This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Lesson in Judy-ism: Full Frontal Tenudity!

You Should Always Have a Party in your Pants!

-Judy Tenuta

Judy Tenuta is the most famous person who has ever lived...and if you don't believe it, just ask her. Judy's stand-up routine is appropriately described as outrageous, mind-blowing comedy. Her one-woman show promises to be nothing less. In fact, Judy recently became an ordained minister, and has been known to convert her audiences to her own fan based signature religion, "Judyism."
Judy is a triple threat in the sense that she has strong stage, television, comedy and film credits with a large fan base. She has appeared in The Vagina Monologues, Menopause. the Musical, both in LA and Chicago, and she's had her own stand-up specials on Showtime, HBO and Lifetime.
Some of Judy's roles include: an ex-show girl turned wedding chaplain on General Hospital, a snobby judge on "Corey in the House" and a featured role in the teen comedy hit, "Material Girls", starring Hillary and Haley Duff and directed by Martha Coolidge. Judy costars with Bruce Vilanch in the Indie film, "Sister Mary."
Judy just completed the role of an overly zealous, in your face Mother of the star high school pitcher, in the soon to be released, "Gibsonberg," based on a true story.... so watch out, Meryl Streep!

Judy was the first female stand-up comic to win "Best Female Comedian" at the American Comedy Awards and is a two-time Grammy nominee for her comedy CDs.

Go to Judy Tenuta’s website and the first thing that you see is that the Goddess needs worshippers! She need look no further than me. I worship her and her uniqueness. She is a true original and there is no one else like her. We actually appeared on the same bill several years ago for Milwaukee Pride but never got a chance to spend any time together although our hotel rooms were right next to each other!
David Dean Bottrell (Celebrity Co-Host IMRU Radio) + Judy Tenuta (the Goddess) on IMRU RADIO [05/13/12]

Judy and I sat down last week to tall all things Judy in anticipation of her upcoming appearance at The Laurie Beechman Theater in New York and her new book,
Those of you who follow my blogs know that my blogs are a celebration of those that I interview and their body of “worth.” My blogs are made up of all of the elements of previous interviews and what works, I always expound upon. I always ask those that I interviewed to come up for a question for my next interview. My first question for Judy comes from Christina Crawford, Mommie Dearest, whom I interviewed last month. Of course, Christina is all about survival. Her question is “If you survived, how did you survive. In other words, if there was something in your life that you had to survive from, what was it and how did you succeed?”
That was a good starting point with Judy. She said she survived twelve years of Catholic school!

I asked Judy what it was like being Judy Tenuta in today’s world. She said it was like being eight different
people because she has eight different personalities! She says it is very frustrating; she is also the NEW Judge Judy. THIS Judy feels that she needs to enforce justice. First of all, gay marriage should be across the boards. “If the gays desire to get married, they have a right to be miserable like anybody else.”
When Judy was a little girl, she always thought that she was a goddess.
She would make her brothers kiss her hands AND her feet and bring her flowers.
When Judy is not bringing joy to the world with her appearances, she loves to commune with nature. She loves flowers and trees. She loves searching out gardens. She also loves having her feet buffed by love slaves. “Of course, I have to go shopping with gay men.” She is looking forward to being back in New York. “There are lots of great places to go shopping in New York City.”
Like most great artists, Judy has her own set of pre-show rituals. She does goddess stretches with her accordion. Of course, she goes through all of the aspects of her show in her head…especially new material. She may do this while looking in the mirror. She usually doesn’t like to have people around her.

If she does, they have to cook for her or something.
It is not difficult for Judy to maintain a social life with all that she is juggling. “Hell, no! I love a social life. I want to be around pigs all the time. I’m constantly looking for a ‘love dog’ “.

I consider Judy’s shows master classes.
She admits that she gives great advice and a lot of it is in her new book and show. (See Link above)
When I asked Judy who the one person is that has been involved in her career the most, she said that would be HER! “If there was someone significant like Donald Trump, I might have my own TV show. “
I suggested Celebrity Apprentice for next year. She said, “Oh yes! It is so easy to get on it!” He would have to appoint her. Donald, if you see this, call Judy Tenuta! She doesn’t desire, however to be “in combat with all those trolls!”
When I asked what audiences can expect at her upcoming show at The Laurie Beechman, she said, “I’m not going to give away the details of my show!” She will be giving those in attendance ADVICE…”making their lives more perfect for them.” This will happen through her religion of Judy-ism. Judy is an ordained minister of her own religion; she will be performing a marriage. She hopes to do several while she is in New York. If there are women in attendance, she will do a special fertility dance with them.
Before she comes to New York, on Saturday June 1, 2013, An Evening of Laughter will be held at the Gay Days Host Hotel, the Doubletree By Hilton Orlando At SeaWorld in the Great Lakes Ballroom. 
Doors open at 7:30 PM with the show starting at 8:00 PM. VIP tickets include a private meet and greet with Judy before the show! Visit to purchase your tickets or a table. She is very excited about that. “Needless to say, I’m sure that I will baptize many because the gays love their pool parties! They love to bathe and buff each other in the pool. I love watching them having fun and tossing around a beach ball.” She once performed a marriage during a pool party. The couple got married in the water.

Doing something like this on stage would make Judy think she was Houdini.
I asked Judy what advice she would give to anyone desiring to follow in her footsteps. “Stay out of my career, bitches! Go do something else. They need cashiers at Bloomie’s. Go do that!” She doesn’t desire other people taking her place. It’s different for each person. She started in Chicago. She took classes at Second City. She did her own thing eventually taking her to New York and LA. The best advice that Judy offers is to have “Joan Rivers be your mom…then, you’ll have no problems!” Judy wishes that Joan was her mom. “Be the child of a famous person! Be Donald Trump’s sons or daughter. 
I wouldn’t suggest being Gary Busey’s daughter.”
What would it be like to be Judy Tenuta’s kid? “That would be fun!”  They would have lots of fashion shows. Judy is into fashion. The kid would have to be doing fashion shows all the time. “Fashion shows on water slides! What could be better than that?” She would like them to have mastery of a musical instrument, preferably an accordion. If not, guitar or piano would do. There would also be fur coats involved and lots of chandeliers.
Judy and I spoke prior to the Matt Damon/Michael Douglas Behind the Chandelier HBO film. Judy was anticipating it with great excitement. Her desire was to see it with a bunch of gay men. She’s not so sure about lesbians. “Are they into Liberace? A lot of grandmas from Idaho and Wisconsin are! They went to see him all the time in Vegas.” Alison Arngrim’s father was Liberace’s manager.  Judy and I both love Alison who will also be at The Laurie Beechman on June 15th and 16th in Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. She has some great stories to tell about Liberace!

Judy and I have both visited the Liberace Museum in Vegas. I actually appeared there! That was really fun.
Judy loved his candelabras and capes. “His capes were like entire buildings. They were big and plush.”

He was over the top and fabulous. That’s what made Liberace Liberace and Judy loves that.
Judy’s biggest vice is eating candy. She hasn’t gotten fat, thank God! She loves to snack on peanut butter filled things. She also says that she should not be allowed in a room with cookies. Another hot vice would also be “letting hot twinkie boys” feed her grapes and desserts like chocolate mousse. She loves these hot twinkie boys! “What’s not to like? They are my weakness. I am a cougar bear out there searching for twinkie boys to buff my feet and feed me grapes and give me snacks and drive me!”

I asked her if there were any straight boys and she doesn’t know!  She doesn’t feel that the straight boys are as eager to please the goddess and give her pedicures.   

Judy’s greatest virtue is that she is a giver, not a taker; although that could be a vice as well. She could be left with nothing.
We already know that Judy is a great teacher. I asked her if she was a great student. 
“I can learn. I like to learn things. “It has to be very specific. If she was told she had to learn the  Toccata and Fugue in D minor, for example,  she might have a problem to do it exactly as requested right away. She would need time. She would leave that to Bach.

That brought me to my next question. How did the accordion find its way into Judy’s act. When Judy was a young girl, there was an accordion salesman going door to door.
 At that time, Judy thought it was a toy and begged for it. Judy’s mom told her that if she got it that Judy would have to practice. Judy didn’t know what that meant, she was seven years old. Most kids get a new toy, they play with it for a while, they get tired of it, and then, they go out to play and ride their bikes.

Not so in Judy’s case. 
Her parents bought it and they told her she now needed to take lessons and practice. 
Judy would beg to go out and play. No, she had to practice for an hour. Judy admits now that it was a good discipline. Judy’s mom locked her in the closet until she could play Lady of Spain in the dark!
Judy believes that the popularity of the accordion is making a “come back.” Maroon Five, with Adam Levine, has accordion players in the group.  There are new Irish bands popping up that have accordions. Maybe Judy made it popular. It wasn’t popular as she was coming up the ranks. There’s even an accordionist in Once on Broadway.
I asked Judy if she is a TV viewer. She said there’s so much these days that she can’t keep track of it all. 
She loves Modern Family, The Good Wife, and Dancing With The Stars. She cannot take these “housewives of housewives” shows!
Who are Judy’s role models? She said it would be a tossup between Katie Perry and Adam Lambert! She loves fashion people. She would love to have a fashion empire like Betsy Johnson, who she loves.
When I asked how she felt her career was going at this point in her life, she laughed out loud. “It could be better! I need to get caught drunk driving with Lindsay Lohan! That’s the only way you get on TV these days. Reese Witherspoon doesn’t count. She HAS a big career. That was a fluke thing that happened to her. Lindsay Lohan is a nonstop reality show. All she does is keep getting arrested and not showing up for court and they keep covering it. What is that?’ It is all ridiculous.”
Judy Tenuta HAS a career. 
She doesn’t need to go on direction. She feels that if she desires to get on TV, that it just might take that! Drunk driving, robbing stores, and the Betty Ford Clinic is the road to television these days!
My next question comes from Michael Feinstein who we both love. Does Judy believe in reincarnation? Yes, she does. She knows she wasn’t Cleopatra because everyone else was.
Judy deserves her own sit com like Hot in Cleveland, a show that she loves, by the way.
If Judy had one day left on earth, what would she desire to do? She would love to go to Rome. She definitely would not have enough time to do all she would desire to do which would include a total massage, a facial, getting her hair done, dancing, film it all and turn it into a reality show!

I cannot wait to worship at The Goddess Judy Tenuta’s show at  The  Laurie Beechman Theatre - 407 West 42nd Street

WHEN: Thursday, July 11th and Friday, July 12th - 7:30 PM
TICKETS: $25 (Gen) & $50 (VIP) by calling (212) 352-3101 or

If you'd like to join our celebration, please let me know!
Please visit Judy's website

Judy's Upcoming Events  

Thanks to Harlan Boll for most of the pics in this blog. 


Thank you Judy Tenuta for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Richard Skipper,                            
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


As an actor, dancer, director and choreographer, Gene Kelly excelled on the Broadway stage, the movie screen and behind the lens of a movie camera.

ON JUNE 1, 2013 AT 7PM AT CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY’S MEMORIAL HALL, Mrs. Gene Kelly ([Patricia Ward Kelly)], who is also a professional biographer and film historian, will take the audience behind the scenes and share an intimate story of her late husband Gene Kelly, the man who helped create some of the most memorable scenes in film history. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
This unique, all-new and never before seen LIVE performance—praised as “a real treat” by Variety—combines rare and familiar film clips, never released audio recordings, memorabilia, and personal insights culled from hundreds of hours of interviews with her husband. Mrs. Kelly, whose presentation has been described as “mesmerizing,” reveals a very personal side of this American legend and his perspective on the innovative work for which he wished to be remembered.
THE MISSION OF THE GENE KELLY LEGACY, INC is to continue to inspire the next generation of artists, filmmakers, dancers, choreographers, and musicians.
 General admission tickets are $35, ([30% discounted tickets for children and students are available). ],VIP tickets, which includes a VIP reception and General Admission, are $99.
AFTER THE ORANGE COUNTY PERFORMANCE, MRS KELLY AND GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY SHOW WILL CONTINUE a multi-city tour in 2013-2014, which includes stops in with stops in several US cities, including, among others,  like Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and more and internationally in London, Dublin and Tokyo to name just a few. More details about the tour can be found at

Praise for Patricia Kelly and GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY -

“A one-of-a-kind, out of this world event…”
Ignacio Darnaude, Sony Pictures

“She held audiences spellbound…”
UK Evening Times
“…I could see the whole thing all over again right now. It was great, great, great."
Angie Dickinson, Actor

“…truly personal—a rarity in tributes like these. I felt privileged to be there.”
Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight

“…charming, informative, humorous and heart warming all at the same time.”
Walter Painter, Emmy-Award Winning Director & Choreographer

A little bit about Gene Kelly

Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly (August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer. Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likeable characters that he played on screen.

Although he is known today for his performances in Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris, he was
a dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid-1940s until this art form fell out of fashion in the late 1950s. His many innovations transformed the Hollywood musical film, and he is credited with almost single-handedly making the ballet form commercially acceptable to film audiences.
 Kelly was the recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 1952 for his career achievements. He later received lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors, and from the Screen Actors Guild and American Film Institute; in 1999, the American Film Institute also numbered him 15th in their Greatest Male Stars of All Time list.
 Kelly was born in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
He was the second son of Harriet Catherine (née Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman.His father was born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, to a family of Irish descent. His maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Derry, Ireland, and his maternal grandmother was of German ancestry.At the age of eight, Kelly was enrolled by his mother in dance classes, along with his elder brother James. They both rebelled, and, according to Kelly: "We didn't like it much and were continually involved in fistfights with the neighborhood boys who called us sissies...I didn't dance again until I was fifteen."
At onetime Kelly's childhood dream was to play shortstop for the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.Kelly returned to dance on his own initiative and by then was an accomplished sportsman and well able to take care of himself. He attended St. Raphael Elementary School in the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Peabody High School in 1929 at the age of sixteen. He enrolled in Pennsylvania State College to study journalism but the economic crash obliged him to seek employment to help with the family's finances. At this time, he worked up dance routines with his younger brother Fred in order to earn prize money in local talent contests, and they also performed in local nightclubs.
 In 1931, Kelly enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics where he joined the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity.[While at Pitt, Kelly became involved in the university's Cap and Gown Club, which staged original, comedic musical productions.[Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with his graduation from Pitt in 1933, he remained active with the Cap and Gown Club, serving as its director from 1934 to 1938, while at the same time enrolling in the University of Pittsburgh Law School.Also during this period, Kelly's family started a dance studio on Munhall Road in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In 1932, the dance studio was renamed The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance. A second location was opened in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1933. Kelly served as a teacher at the studio during both his undergraduate and law student years at Pitt. In 1931, he was approached by the Rodef Shalom synagogue in Pittsburgh to teach dance, and to stage the annual Kermess. This venture was successful enough that his services were retained for seven years until his departure for New York.
Eventually, though, he decided to pursue his career as a dance teacher and full-time entertainer, so Kelly dropped out of law school after two months. He began to increasingly focus on performing and later claimed: "With time I became disenchanted with teaching because the ratio of girls to boys was more than ten to one, and once the girls reached sixteen the dropout rate was very high."In 1937, having successfully managed and developed the family's dance school business, he finally did move to New York City in search of work as a choreographer.
 After a fruitless search, Kelly returned to Pittsburgh, to his first position as a choreographer with the Charles Gaynor musical revue Hold Your Hats at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in April, 1938. Kelly appeared in six of the sketches, one of which, La Cumparsita, became the basis of an extended Spanish number in Anchors Aweigh eight years later.
 His first Broadway assignment, in November 1938, was as a dancer in Cole Porter's Leave It to Me! as the American ambassador's secretary who supports Mary Martin while she sings My Heart Belongs to Daddy. He had been hired by Robert Alton who had staged a show at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and been impressed by Kelly's teaching skills. When Alton moved on to choreograph One for the Money, he hired Kelly to act, sing and dance in a total of eight routines. In 1939, he was selected to be part of a musical revue One for the Money, produced by the actress Katharine Cornell, who was known for finding and hiring talented young actors.
 Kelly's first career breakthrough was in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life, which opened on October 25, 1939, where for the first time on Broadway he danced to his own choreography.
In the same year he received his first assignment as a Broadway choreographer, for Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe. Betsy Blair was a member of the cast. He began dating Blair, and they married on October 16, 1941.
In 1940, he was given the leading role in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, again choreographed by Robert Alton, and this role propelled him to stardom. During its run he told reporters: "I don't believe in conformity to any school of dancing. I create what the drama and the music demand. While I am a hundred percent for ballet technique, I use only what I can adapt to my own use. I never let technique get in the way of mood or continuity."It was at this time also, that his phenomenal commitment to rehearsal and hard work was noticed by his colleagues. Van Johnson who also appeared in Pal Joey recalled: "I watched him rehearsing, and it seemed to me that there was no possible room for improvement. Yet he wasn't satisfied. It was midnight and we had been rehearsing since eight in the morning. I was making
my way sleepily down the long flight of stairs when I heard staccato steps coming from the stage...I could see just a single lamp burning. Under it, a figure was dancing...Gene."
 Pal Joey, in October 1941. Prior to his contract, he also managed to fit in choreographing the stage production of Best Foot Forward.

Offers from Hollywood began to arrive but Kelly was in no particular hurry to leave New York. Eventually, he signed with David O. Selznick, agreeing to go to Hollywood at the end of his commitment to
 Selznick sold half of Kelly's contract to MGM for his first motion picture: For Me and My Gal (1942) starring box-office champion Judy Garland.
 Kelly claimed to be "appalled at the sight of myself blown up twenty times. I had an awful feeling that I was a tremendous flop", (Betsy Blair told a different story!).  For Me and My Gal performed very well and, in the face of much internal resistance, Arthur Freed of MGM picked up the other half of Kelly's contract.
After appearing in a cheap B-movie drama Pilot #5 he took the male lead in Cole Porter's Du Barry Was a Lady opposite Lucille Ball (in a part originally intended for Ann Sothern). His first opportunity to dance to his own choreography came in his next picture Thousands Cheer, where he performed a mock-love dance with a mop.
In Kelly's next film Anchors Aweigh (1945), MGM virtually gave him a free hand to devise a range of dance routines, including the celebrated animated dance with Jerry Mouse, and his duets with co-star Frank Sinatra.
  The iconic performance was enough for Manny Farber to completely reverse his previous assessment of Kelly's skills; reviewing the film, Farber enthused, "Kelly is the most exciting dancer to appear in Hollywood movies."Anchors Aweigh became one of the most successful films of 1945 and it garnered Kelly his first and only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
  (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Gene Kelly, please attend ON JUNE 1, 2013 AT 7PM AT CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY’S MEMORIAL HALL in Orange County.
Contact: Bryan Elliott
Gene Kelly The Legacy, Inc.The Gene Kelly Legacy, Inc.
The Gene Kelly Image Trust
Tel. 949-330-6683
Fan David Fantle holding the Best Pic Oscar for An American in Paris
Thank you to Gene Kelly for the gifts he gave to the world and thanks to Patricia Ward Kelly for keeping the legacy going!

 With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with YOU!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


When it comes to the history of Jerry Herman’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000+ performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.”-Carol Channing

My next blog will be...My exclusive interview with Judy Tenuta!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


Richard Skipper,                            

This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!