I followed the life and career of Marge Champion and her former husband Gower since the mid 1950's. It started by seeing them dance on television in a Sunday afternoon arts program probably "Omnibus," hosted by Alistair Cooke. Even at an early age, I was so impressed by their technique and grace. The next thing I remember is seeing Gower Champion's first Broadway bound musical for which he directed and choreographed, "Bye, Bye Birdie," which is still one of my top 10 favorite musicals.In 1978, Gower temporarily replaced Barry Nelson starring opposite Liza Minnelli in "The Act" on Broadway. I made it a point to resee the show because I wanted to watch Gower perform as well as enjoy the magic of Ms. Minnelli the second time around. I wasn't disappointed by Gower although it wasn't a dancing role.When Marge Champion was announced as one of the company members of the 2001 Roundabout revival of "Follies," I knew I had to be there to see her and my favorite Sondheim musical again. Thank god that I did because she never again performed in public, to my knowledge.Marge Champion's death at 101 makes me want to move, not dance because this overweight, arthritic body doesn't have that kind of agility. It is comforting to note that if there is any justice in this world, Marge is probably dancing now up in heaven with all of the MGM musical stars that could cut a rug. Maybe she and Gower have mended their fences and are showing the crowd what steps they are still capable of performing. I hope someone has a video cam going to preserve this event for eternal viewing.
Marge Champion had one of the world's great smiles.
What a life! So amazing to see the longevity, and think about what these great artists saw in their lifetime. She was already 46 years old when I was born, and I feel like I've been around forever. Such sad news!! And one of the few left who could tell stories of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
She and Gower weren't the most photogenic of pairs and that, along with the decline in popularity of movie musicals in general, did their careers in movie musicals irreparable damage. But both became renowned dancers, choreographers and, in Gower's case, an award-winning director. Marge Champion epitomizes the working dancer who transitioned in life through multiple mediums and impacted so many lives. RIP
From 1998, Marge talks about EVERYTHING!
AADA81 said: "She and Gower weren't the most photogenic of pairs and that, along with the decline in popularity of movie musicals in general, did their careers in movie musicals irreparable damage. But bothbecame renowned dancers, choreographers and, in Gower's case,an award-winning director. Marge Champion epitomizes the working dancer who transitioned in life through multiple mediums and impacted so many lives. RIP" I have to take exception here. Gower Champion was an extremely handsome and photogenic man. Marge was attractive but is a more comical way, which is why she was perfect in the role of Ellie in SHOWBOAT. And thanks to BrodyFosse for posting that delightful interview.
I always looked forward to their two dance numbers in MGM's Show Boat. She was a fine Elly. Show Boat "I Might Fall Back On You"