One of musical film’s most vivacious and vibrant dancing talents who glided effortlessly through Hollywood’s “Golden Age” in the 40s and 50s was Vera-Ellen Westmeyer Rohe, better known to all her fans simply by her hyphenated first name. Whether performing solo or dueting with the best male partners of her generation, including Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, Vera-Ellen gave life to some of the most extraordinary dance routines ever caught on film. Sadly, out-and-out stardom eluded her, and she never did quite earn the recognition or accolades that were bestowed upon many of her musical peers and co-stars.
Born of German descent in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 16, 1921 (some sources incorrectly indicate 1926), the only child of a piano tuner, she was painfully shy and frail as a youngster and had developed severe health issues by age 9. Using dance as both physical and emotional therapy, what was once recreational became a soulful and burning passion, and her talent… read more