This is a one stop place to find news and stories about the greatest singer of all-time, Bing Crosby. From his days with Paul Whiteman to his final performances in 1977, we will examine this remarkable entertainer’s life and times! Vera-Ellen was married twice. Her first husband was a fellow dancer, Robert Hightower, to whom she was married from February 1941 to November 1946. Her second husband was oilman Victor Rothschild. They were married from 1954 to 1966 when they divorced. While married to Rothschild, she gave birth to a daughter, Victoria Ellen, who died in 1963 at three months from SIDS. Following the death of her only child, she withdrew from public life. She danced with Gene Kelly in the Hollywood musicals Words and Music and On the Town, while also appearing in the last Marx Brothers film, Love Happy. She received top billing alongside Fred Astaire in the musicals Three Little Words and The Belle of New York. She had a co-starring role with Donald O’Connor in the Ethel Merman vehicle Call Me Madam. She also starred in the 1951 musical comedy ‘Happy Go Lovely’ alongside David Niven and Cesar Romero. Vera-Ellen’s penultimate film role was the 1954 blockbuster hit White Christmas, co-starring with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. She starred in only one more film, the 1957 British production Let’s Be Happy.In 1939, she made her Broadway debut in the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical Very Warm for May. She became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. This led to roles on Broadway in Panama Hattie, By Jupiter, and A Connecticut Yankee, where she was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her opposite Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in the 1945 film Wonder Man.Her niece by marriage, Ileana Rothschild, born in 1967, remembered that her aunt “never stopped taking dance classes and maintained her slim figure always.” She was also an “avid swimmer,” who used a swimming program to recover from a mild stroke late in her life. According to Rothschild, she had no eating disorder.Vera-Ellen died at the Los Angeles County General Hospital on August 30, 1981, of ovarian cancer. She was 60 years old. She is buried at Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar, Los Angeles.
usion in the Hollywood Hills. Vera-Ellen, who danced across the screen with such stars as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly during the golden era of Hollywood musicals, died of cancer at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunday. She was 55 years old.With Mr. Astaire she did ”Three Little Words” and ”The Belle of New York.” She also appeared in ”Call Me Madam.” Her last picture, in 1957, was ”Let’s Be Happy,” with Tony Martin.
Vera-Ellen’s career began in her teens, when she won a radio talent competition. She went on to star on Broadway and in such classic films as ”White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and ”On the Town” with Mr. Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
As a teen-ager she won the Major Bowes Amateur Hour and toured New York theaters, dancing for $50 a week in the late 1930’s. She also toured with the Ted Lewis Band and eventually broke into Broadway musicals, dancing with Ray Bolger in ”By Jupiter” in 1942 and in the revival of ”A Connecticut Yankee” in 1943. She was noticed in 1943 by Samuel Goldwyn, who started her on her film career. Last Film in 1957During the 1950s, she was reputed to have the “smallest waist in Hollywood”, probably because she suffered from anorexia, which contributed to her premature aging . She retired from the screen in 1957. Shortening and hyphenating her name to “Vera-Ellen” in the early 40s, this little lady became one of the greatest dancers of her generation on Broadway and Hollywood. Vera-Ellen (1921-1981), appeared in “White Christmas” (1954) and”On the Town” (1949) During her early career, she appeared in nightclub acts, as one of the youngest Rockettes, and a Broadway dancer. In 1936 Vera Ellen’s dance studio employers took her to a dance teacher’s convention in New York City. Vera was intrigued by the opportunities for dance education and employment in New York and wanted to return. Vera’s mother Alma apparently thought so too, but her father was reluctant. He relented when Alma agreed to accompany Vera, and that she agree not to accept any employment in establishments that served liquor. In 1939, Vera-Ellen made her Broadway theatre debut in the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical Very Warm For May at the age of 18. She became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, although she was not tall. This led to roles on Broadway in Panama Hattie, By Jupiter, and A Connecticut Yankee, where she was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her opposite Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in the film Wonder Man (1945). Vera-Ellen in Happy Go Lovely (1951)She appeared in several films, including White Christmas (1954), On the Town (1949), the “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” dance in Words and Music (1948) — the last two with Gene Kelly. Vera-Ellen was also one of the stars in the last Marx Brothers film, Love Happy (1949). She took top billing alongside Fred Astaire in Three Little Words (1950) and The Belle of New York (1952), with Donald O’Connor in Call Me Madam (1953), and in Let’s Be Happy (1957).
Vera Ellen auditioned for and then won a competition on the “Major Bowes Amateur Hour”. She then went on the road with one of Bowes’ touring companies, the “All Girl Unit”. Alma accompanied Vera on this tour. After the tour Vera Ellen enrolled in the Sonia Serva School of Dancing. Alma took a secretarial job to pay for the lessons. Vera auditioned for a part in a Broadway show but was rejected because of her small stature. As a result of this, Vera Ellen embarked on a campaign to try to increase her height. At age sixteen Vera Ellen was only four feet six inches tall (135 cm). and weighed just 76 pounds(37kg). She did begin to grow ,though, and by age twenty-one she had reached her adult height of 5 feet 4 inches(160 cm). Vera Ellen believed all her life that her growth was due entirely to the diet and exercise regime she followed in her late teens, but the growth was more likely due to an overdue natural growth spurt.Vera-Ellen was married twice. Her first husband was fellow dancer Robert Hightower, whom she was married to from 1945 to 1946. Her second husband, from 1954 to 1966, was millionaire Victor Rothschild. Both marriages ended in divorce. While married to Rothschild, she gave birth to a daughter, Victoria Ellen Rothschild, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1963. Following this traumatic event Vera-Ellen further withdrew from public life.
She was born Vera Ellen Westmeier Rohe in Norwood, Ohio to Martin Rohe and Alma Catherine Westmeier, both descended from German immigrants. She began dancing at the age of 9 and quickly became very proficient. At 16, she was a winner on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, and entered upon a professional career.
Vera-Ellen (born Vera-Ellen Westmeier Rohe; February 16, 1921 – August 30, 1981) was an American dancer and actress. She is remembered for her solo performances as well as her work with partners Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye, and Donald O’Connor. She is best known for her starring roles in On the Town (1949) with Kelly and White Christmas (1954) with Kaye.Who is Vera-Ellen dating? Vera-Ellen boyfriend, husband list. Help us build our profile of Vera-Ellen! Login to add information, pictures and relationships, join in discussions and get credit for your contributions.Robert Hightower and Vera-Ellen were married for 1 year. They dated for 5 years after getting together in Feb 1940 and married on 4th Feb 1945. 1 year later they divorced on 28th Nov 1946.“I thought she was so adorable, this bouncy and joyous and slightly plump little person. She wasn’t so pencil thin as she got later on. She was wonderful in that show.”Though it’s unclear why Alma believed a diet rich in pink bananas would accomplish this goal, the act is indicative of the extreme measures Alma was willing to implement in order to keep her daughter small and trim.When Gene Kelly selected Vera-Ellen to dance with him in the now classic Slaughter on Tenth Avenue sequence in the 1948 film, Words and Music, Vera was determined to be a success, and make her new studio happy. During long hours of rehearsals, the weight seemed to drip off, and Vera’s costumes had to be taken in drastically. “Vera-Ellen worked so hard on that picture [White Christmas] that as the pic progressed Edith had to revamp the wardrobe by continuing to take her costumes in because she lost a lot of weight.”It was one of many diets that Alma put Vera-Ellen on throughout her pre-teen and teenage years. A classmate at Norwood High School remembered that Mrs. Rohe was desperate to keep her daughter small, and insisted on feeding her pink bananas.
Vera-Ellen did wear high necklines off-camera, but her second husband, Victor Rothschild, insisted that Vera never enjoyed wearing them. As Rothschild put it:By this time, the Hightower marriage was in trouble. Divorce would follow in 1946, but in the meantime, Vera-Ellen and her mother left the Broadway stage for Hollywood movies. By the time Vera-Ellen and her mother arrived in Hollywood to film 1945’s Wonder Man, Vera’s weight had dropped again. Now at her full height of 5 feet 4 and one-half inches, Vera estimated that at the time she weighed 95 pounds: the stress of Broadway, coupled with her crumbling marriage, had taken a toll. But once in California, it didn’t take long for Vera’s weight to rebound. “That regimen [of coffee all day and only a steak and a vegetable at night] started Vera-Ellen on the road to deeper, more intractable psychological problems. Her life eventually turned into a tragedy, and the diet killed her.”By age 12, the petite, adorably pudgy Vera was a star student at Hessler’s Dance Studio in Cincinnati, where young Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff—who’d one day become Doris Day—was a classmate. Vera’s talent and skill were extraordinary, and her mother knew it. But when the 12 year-old was selected to be chief majorette of her school’s band, Alma decided that Vera’s baby fat was unacceptable: Alma Rohe put her pre-teen daughter on an extreme diet. When Vera-Ellen signed with MGM, she was told in no uncertain terms to slim down. In particular, the studio cruelly named Vera’s thighs as a “problem area.” Fellow MGM star Debbie Reynolds remembered how brutal MGM was to Vera-Ellen about her body: Thanks for reading Jeff, and for your kind words! It’s tragic to see Vera-Ellen’s transformation onscreen from athletic and healthy to shockingly thin. The standards of MGM (and her own mother) were so unhealthy.
“Vera-Ellen was told that she was too fat, that her top thighs were too heavy. No matter how she exercised, the fat remained. Vera-Ellen was never fat, but she was insecure and wanted to please so she believed them which was the worst thing she could have done. She cut back on her food intake. After that she drake coffee all day and ate only a steak and a vegetable at night.”
Fan magazines also began taking note of Vera-Ellen’s slighter than ever frame. As Screen Life offered,Vera’s quest for artistic perfection had caused her “to lose too much weight.”Hi Judy, thanks for reading! I agree, Vera is spectacular in White Christmas, particularly in the Mandy sequence. And greetings to Edinburgh, I love your beautiful city! That lovely photo is from filming of Vera-Ellen’s last movie, Let’s Be Happy (1957), which was shot on location in Edinburgh. It’s a cute, typical 1950’s musical that’s worth a watch. Vera’s dancing, as always, elevates the film.While Vera-Ellen’s weight would rebound slightly for her next film, the 1953 non-musical Big Leaguer, by the time filming of White Christmas [aff. link] began in September of 1953, Vera-Ellen was once again alarmingly thin.In 1936, 15 year-old Vera-Ellen and her mother left Ohio for Broadway. Alma, it seemed, was just as set on a successful dancing career for her daughter as Vera was. Whether taping a mile a minute in the ‘Choreography’ number, kicking her legs to unbelievable heights in ‘Mandy,’ dancing with passionate energy in the ‘Abraham’ number, or looking impossibly graceful in pink chiffon as she sweeps Danny Kaye off his feet, Vera-Ellen’s legacy from White Christmas should be her dancing. 1953’s Call Me Madam was the first film in which Vera-Ellen appears unhealthily slim. Some call her spare figure in the film emaciated. Vera’s extreme weight loss before and during the picture may have been triggered by the disappointing failure of her previous film, 1952’s The Bell of New York. It may also be that, after years of implementing the practices observed by her MGM peers, Vera’s beautiful face and body were beginning to show signs of strain. Whatever the reason, the contrast between Vera-Ellen’s appearance in Call Me Madam and her earlier MGM films, is startling.“I used to be skinny when I was working on the stage. Then I gained weight after arriving here [Hollywood]. It must have been the California climate. I’ve trimmed down since. When I gain weight there is the threat that I may grow muscle bound in my legs and I won’t have that. I’ve learned that the best prevention is to raise your feet to a high level whenever you’re not working. Even when I go to a picture theater, I rest my feet in my escort’s lap.”
drove herself relentlessly.” Choreographer David Lober, who danced with Vera in 1951’s Happy Go Lovely, seconded Kelly’s observations.Vera-Ellen’s mother, Alma Rohe, was perhaps the greatest influence in her daughter’s life. Vera Ellen Rohe was born on February 16, 1921. The Ohio native was a small child: by age nine, Vera-Ellen was a full head shorter than her peers. Alma believed that exercise would help strengthen her diminutive daughter, and enrolled Vera-Ellen in dance lessons. It soon became apparent that young Vera was a natural. As Vera-Ellen later remembered: As a glamorous Hollywood movie star, the pressure Vera-Ellen put on herself to be thin would grow stronger each year. But in her early Broadway career and film work, Vera-Ellen maintained a healthy, and at times even plump, figure. By the time Vera-Ellen entered 10th grade in 1936, she was near emaciated. At age 16, she was four feet six inches tall and underweight, at 76 pounds. Alma’s diets had achieved the desired effect.
Vera-Ellen retreated from public life after the tragic loss of her 3 month old daughter to SIDS in 1963. After divorcing Victor Rothschild in 1966, it’s telling that, despite Alma Rohe’s pleadings, Vera-Ellen chose not to live with her mother again.Still, MGM’s weight loss demands made Vera-Ellen acutely aware of the size of her thighs. Vera’s own words at the time indicate that MGM started, or at least exacerbated, a self-consciousness about her legs. As Vera said in the late 1940s:
Rumors abound as to why Vera-Ellen’s neck and chest are covered throughout White Christmas. It’s been claimed that White Christmas costume designer, Edith Head, kept Vera-Ellen’s neck and chest covered to hide Vera’s prematurely aging décolletage. I fall in love with Vera-Ellen every time I watch “White Christmas” She was so beautiful, a great actress and fabulous dancer with the greatest legs ever! Wish I could’ve met and known her; she was the best; my fantasy love! I have just watched Vera-Ellen in “White Christmas”. She had total control of what her body did, & those kicks. I loved her performance. I did notice how her legs looked & then realized she did wear turtle necks. She looked just as I looked when I was dysmorphia, & was experiencing disordered eating. I was very lucky, however, & I never moved on to Anorexia; that is why I googled her because I knew. It is easier to recognize when one has experienced it themselves.Constant exercise is one of the characteristics of an eating disorder. Yes, the lady was a wonderful an overlooked dancer. And yes, some people are naturally slender. But usually their proportions are in keeping with that natural tendency. Vera-Ellen’s waist size was that of a child’s, while her head, hands and feet were those of an average-sized woman. Unless any of her friends were with her 24/7, none can know for sure what she ate and if she kept it down since bulimia often accompanies anorexia. Of course, none of us can either. But to those who throw out the tired “you other women are just jealous” saw, give it a rest. Most of us want to be healthy and work at it. But we don’t find extreme thinness attractive and wonder about men who do.
In so true it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen from any woman in my entire life and I am over 80 years old next week which will be August 30th the date Vera became an angel I am going to visit her grave site in Sylmar California
Just saw her in THREE LITTLE WORDS with Fred Astaire. What a talent. I always thought Cyd Charise was Fred’s best partner until I saw her dance, OMG! Funny that I looked at my wife’s 1952 Barbie and it is a double for Vera_Ellen.Hi, does anyone have the poster of Vera Ellen as Miss Turnstiles from On The Town? I’d love to have one? Thanks, Joyce Granville – Northern California. You can email me at:[email protected] No-one has mentioned her ravishing solo dance in “The Bell of New York” – ‘Naughty But Nice’. Just Vera in a black corset (neck visible), then in a wonderful black dress with flashes of yellow under-frills. This, I think, is her best solo number, and the movie – despite its silly story – has her best dances with Astaire. I’m watching it right and she is painfully thin in that choreography number. You don’t need a ‘fat mirror’ to see it – you can simply look at the other female dancers in the scene who all have normal-sized legs! And you just wonder if that bustle thing on her costume is to try to make her look a little bigger/wider. She is adorable but it’s sad to see. I love this movie but my sister is anorexic and it’s painful to see someone so lovely and with so much talent who also succumbed to this terrible disease.Why do you assume every woman who thinks Vera Ellen may have been anorexic is overweight? Also remember the camera adds 10 pounds. I think she looks alarming and I’m accused of being too skinny!