‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Sound of Music’ Choreographer Marc Breaux Dies at 89

Marc Breaux, choreographer for the films “Mary Poppins,” “The Sound of Music” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” who also occasionally directed films, died Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz. He was 89.

Breaux also choreographed the films “Huckleberry Finn,” “The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella” and the notorious Mae West starrer “Sextette” as well as the TV movies “Fol-de-Rol” and “Of Thee I Sing.”

He frequently worked with Dee Dee Wood, his wife of many years, but they eventually went their separate ways.

The Breauxs were choreographing for television — credits included “The Andy Williams Show” and the Judy Garland special “Judy and Her Guests, Phil Silvers and Robert Goulet” — when Dick Van Dyke, who had worked with them on “The Jack Benny Show,” recommended them to Walt Disney for “Mary Poppins.”

Breaux started in showbiz as a dancer on Broadway. His first show was “Look, Ma, I’m Dancin’!” Born in Carencro, La., he studied dance at the U. of Louisiana, then served as a pilot in the Navy during WWII. A visit to a modern-dance class in New York taught by choreographers Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman changed his plans to become a doctor.

Breaux and Wood met while working on a television show hosted by Stan Kenton, married in 1955 and appeared together on the Rialto in “Li’l Abner.” That show’s choreographer was Michael Kidd, whose athletic dance style greatly influenced the Breauxs, as can be seen in the rooftop chimney sweep number in “Mary Poppins” featuring Van Dyke.

Breaux worked again with the actor, directing a 1971 episode of “The New Dick Van Dyke Show.” He also helmed the 1974 TV movie “Fred Astaire Salutes the Fox Musicals.”

Breaux is survived by a son, four granddaughters and a great-granddaughter.

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