Archive for August 28th, 2009

Michael Kidd at Hollywood Forever

Friday, August 28th, 2009


Michael Kidd




By Allan R. Ellenberger


How many are aware that famed dancer and choreographer, Michael Kidd is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery? I didn’t know until a few months after his death in 2007 and I just recently found his unmarked grave.


He was born Milton Greenwald on August 12, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. He made his stage debut in The Eternal Road (1937), and in 1942 joined the American Ballet Theatre as a soloist. Over the years he danced for Mikhail Fokine, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins and David Lichine.


Michael Kidd won five Tony Awards for his Broadway choreography: Finian’s Rainbow (1947), Guys and Dolls (1951), Can-Can (1953), Li’l Abner (1957), and Destry Rides Again (1959).


Films that he choreographed included: Where’s Charley (1949), The Band Wagon (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and Hello Dolly (1969). Kidd also acted and danced in movies. He appeared with Gene Kelly and Dan Daily in It’s Always Fair Weather, where they danced along a New York street with garbage-can lids attached to their shoes.


Kidd starred in the cult film, Smile (1975) and occasionally directed film and television (All in the Family, Laverne & Shirley). In 1993 he was nominated for a Tony award for directing Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. In 1996, he was presented an honorary Oscar at the 69th Academy Award show .


Michael Kidd died in Los Angeles from cancer on December 23, 2007 at the age of 92. He was interred in the Pineland Section (13), Lot 847, Grave 1, next to a tree, about 20 feet southwest of Frank Keenan.


Michael Kidd grave

The grave of Michael Kidd (above) and his temporary marker (below)
(Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger)


Michael Kidd marker



‘Wizard of Oz’ at 70

Friday, August 28th, 2009


“Wizard of Oz,’ still magical after 70 years


Oz travelers


It was 70 years ago this week that “The Wizard of Oz” arrived in theaters and even in this CGI-jaded era those old red ruby slippers still shine brightly.


Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times
August 28, 2009 


The anniversary will be celebrated over the next year with numerous events, including a national tour by a seven-story Oz-themed hot-air balloon, a Sept. 23 one-night theatrical re-release of a newly restored version of the film in 450 theaters and the release next month of an “ultimate collector’s edition” package on Blu-ray and DVD with that remastered version and 16 hours of bonus material.


That may sound like a lot of attention for an artifact from the FDR administration, but there’s a timeless quality to the cinematic adaptation of  L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel that still transports new generations over the rainbow. The movie remains an essential reference point — this December in James Cameron’s much-ballyhooed sci-fi epic “Avatar,” for instance, when the main character arrives on a dazzling jungle planet, moviegoers will hear a familiar line : “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” Cameron chuckled when asked about the line. “Yeah, it’s my favorite movie; I had to get it in there somewhere,” he said. Cameron is not alone in his ongoing romance with “Oz.” To mark the anniversary, The Times interviewed creators in film, television, music and books who have never wearied of the cinematic trip down the yellow brick road.


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