Tom Hansen

Dancer/choreographer

Dancer/choreographer Tom Hansen died April 27 of prostate cancer in Fallbrook, Calif. He was 80.

His career spanned nearly six decades in television, the Broadway stage and special events.

A native of Modesto, Calif., Hansen was raised in Watsonville and served in the U.S. Army, where he was a bassoonist in the band, then studied dance in New York City. He began his career as a dancer at the Roxy in N.Y., then appeared in the original company of “Kiss Me Kate” (1948) on Broadway before beginning his TV career.

He started as a dancer/singer/actor on “Stop the Music” and “Your Hit Parade,” becoming the show’s choreographer for the final season of that variety show and later the 1975 series for CBS Television. Subsequently, he choreographed the “Dinah Shore Chevy Show.”

He continued on television as choreographer of several Bing Crosby specials, as well as specials starring Bob Hope and Steve Allen, the Opryland Specials, “The Arthur Murray Dance Party,” “Red, White and Blue” with Fred Astaire, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Special and several specials for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

He was twice Emmy-nommed for “Fabulous Fordies Special” and “The Red Skelton Show” on CBS.

Moving into theatricals and special events, Hansen choreographed two Lido de Paris shows in Paris, as well as “Hello, Hollywood Hello,” at the MGM Grand hotel in Reno.

Moving to Hawaii, he staged and choreographed “The Jim Nabors Polynesian Revue” at the Oahu Hilton in Hawaiian Village. He wrote, directed and choreographed the annual “Merry Christmas with Friends and Nabors” at the Hawaii Theatre, finishing the ninth production in 2005.

Among his other credits were the John F. Kennedy Inaugural gala in Washington, and night club acts for performers including Juliet Prowse, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, Arlene Dahl, Carol Channing and Shirley Jones.

In later years, Hansen was on the dance faculty at Palomar College. In October, 2001, he was honored with the Lehman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance in America.

He is survived by his life partner of 46 years, Currie Pederson.

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