Actor and dancer John Brascia, best known for his work in “White Christmas” and “Meeting Me In Las Vegas,” died Feb. 19 in Santa Monica from complications due to Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.
The California native made his Broadway debut performing in the musical version of the film “Nothing Sacred.” After winning the Outer Circle Award and impressing the production’s choreographer Robert Alton, Brascia was cast as the lead dancer in the film “White Christmas” in 1954. Two years later he starred in dance number “Frankie and Johnny” in the movie “Meet Me in Las Vegas.”
In 1957, Brascia met Tybee Arfa and formed the dance duo known as Brascia and Tybee. They married a year later and became regular openers for artists like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Dean Martin, and George Burns. The dancers also frequently appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Jack Benny Show” and “The Hollywood Palace.”
Beginning in 1967, Brascia began to perform serious roles in films such as “The Ambushers”(1967), “Walking Tall” (1973), “Joe and Sons”(1976) and “The Baltimore Bullet,” (1980) which he also wrote and produced. “Bullet,” starring James Coburn, was inspired by Brascio’s passion for the game of pool.
He is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.