Choreographer and dancer Alex Romero, who choreographed “Jailhouse Rock” for Elvis Presley, died Sept. 8 of natural causes in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 94.
Born Alexander Bernard Quiroga in San Antonio, Texas, he joined his brothers in Spanish dance act The Romero Brothers at the age of 15.
After touring throughout the U.S. and Europe, he began dancing in the movies and performed in such films as “Time Out for Rhythm,” “Texas Carnival” and “An American in Paris.” In “On the Town,” he was featured as one of the three dancing sailors.
Romero began assisting film choreographers such as Michael Kidd on “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” Hermes Pan and Fred Astaire on “Barkleys of Broadway,” Busby Berkley on “Small Town Girl” and Gene Kelly on “American in Paris” and “On the Town.” He also assisted on “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Showboat” and “Anchors Aweigh.”
Known for his clever style and use of props, Romero began working full-time as a choreographer on dance numbers for Bob Fosse and Debbie Reynolds in “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis,” Russ Tamblyn in “Fastest Gun Alive” and Doris Day in “Love Me or Leave Me.” Other credits include “The Gazebo, ” “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. ” “Love at First Bite” and “Zorro, the Gay Blade.”
In 1957, he choreographed “Jailhouse Rock” for Elvis Presley, conceiving the sets and costumes, and fighting with studio executives to include the rock and roll number in the film. He went on to choreograph three more films for him — “Clambake” “Double Trouble” and “Speedway.”
His television credits include specials and series for Perry Como, Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Dezi Arnaz, several editions of the Academy Awards, and episodes of “Fantasy Island, ” “Hart to Hart” and “The Tracy Ullman Show. ”
Romero is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.