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Vera-Ellen (Vera Ellen Westmeyer Rohe 1921-1981)

 

  1. Sally Forrest, Excuse My Dust, 1950.      “Bunny” couldn’t join the Red Skelton comedy (?) due to delays on her UK movie, Val Guest’s Happy Go Lovely, with David Niven.
  2. Leslie Caron, An American in Paris, 1951.    Gene Kelly was not looking much further than his On The Town partner until Roger Vadim mentioned a real French fille that his lover, Brigitte Bardot, knew at dance school. Or so he told me. (Vera-Ellen went to the same dance school as Doris Day). Kelly’s then wife, Besty Blair, said it was another American in Paris who suggested Leslie: singer-actor Eddie Constantine.
  3. Debbie Reynolds, Skirts Ahoy! 1951.    Various critics felt that the Debbie-Bobby Van number was an added, dry afterthought in the wet  Esther Williams vehicle. Correct! A previous dance routine from Vera-Ellen and Ricardo Montalban was shot and scrapped and the (uncredited!) youngsters almost stole the movie - the reason Debbie won Singin’ in the Rain
  4. Cyd Charisse, The Band Wagon, 1952.     On December 4, 1951, the Hollywood Reporter  reported that Vera was set as Fred Astaire’s co-star.  However, the daily’s Rambling Reporter had to update his column…  
  5. Jane Powell, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, 1954.     Signed (and wasted) by MGM for seven years, the  anorexic dancer still got to partner Astaire and Kelly...
  6. Jane Powell, Athena, 1954.       ... but was more usually loaned out to join Danny Kaye or Donald O'Conner.
  7. Cyd Charisse,  Deep In My Heart, 1954.    "To all those who love the music of Sigmund Romberg." José Ferrer played Broadway’s Hungarian-born composer in the star-stuffed bio-musical.  Cyd subbed Vera-Ellen in a Desert Song dance number with James Mitchell - as per usual,  more erotic than Gene Kelly
  8. Jane Powell, Hit The Decks, 1955.        After 13 movies, but losing three successive musicals  MGM announced for her,  she hit the stage,  married oil,  lost her only child  to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and became a recluse until her death.

 





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