×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hollywood Choreographer Miriam Nelson Dies at 98

Miriam Nelson, who worked extensively as a choreographer during Hollywood’s golden age, died Aug. 12 at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to her longtime friend James Gray. She was 98.

Nelson was the choreographer for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Jolson Story,” “Picnic,” “Hawaii,” “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” and “The Apartment.” She also appeared as an actress in  “Double Indemnity,” “Cover Girl,” “The Jolson Story,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Pillow Talk.” Nelson choreographed the dancers on the opening day of Disneyland in 1955, as well as two Academy Awards telecasts and two Super Bowl halftime shows.

Nelson was known for her enthusiasm for dancing. As she walked by, John Wayne once shouted to a group taking a break on set, “Run for the hills, fellas! Or Miriam will make you dance!”

She was born Miriam Lois Frankel on Sept. 21, 1919, in Chicago and began tap dancing at a very young age. When she was 14, she moved with her family to New York and performed at Billy Rose’s Casa Mañana (with dance partner Van Johnson). She went on to perform in six Broadway musicals from 1939-1943: “Sing Out The News,” “Yokel Boy,” “Very Warm For May,” “Higher and Higher,” “Panama Hattie,” and “Let’s Face It.”

After marrying fellow dancer Gene Nelson, the couple moved to California where she landed a seven-year contract at Paramount Studios. When he was signed by Warner Bros. to star in a series of musical films, Miriam Nelson assisted and co-choreographed his dance numbers and coached Doris Day and his other female costars in films in “Tea for Two,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady,” and “She’s Working Her Way Through College.”

Her TV credits include Judy Garland’s first TV special, “The Red Skeleton Show,” “The Colgate Comedy Hour,”  “Father Knows Best,” ”The Lucy Show,” ”The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Designing Women,” and “Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women,” for which she was a Primetime Emmy nominee.

In 1953, Nelson became one of the founding members of SHARE (Share Happily and Reap Endlessly), a non-profit organization composed of women committed to raising funds for developmentally disabled, abused and neglected children, as well as medical research for all forms of developmental disabilities.

In 2009, her autobiography, “My Life Dancing with the Stars”, was published. She was predeceased by second husband, producer Jack Myers, and is survived by her son Chris Nelson, her three grandsons Christopher, Josh, Matt, and her great granddaughter, Emma.

More TV

  • Avi Saxena - Discovery

    Discovery Hires Amazon's Avi Saxena as CTO of Direct-to-Consumer Unit, Will Open Seattle Office

    Discovery hired Avi Saxena, former VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace, as chief technology officer of direct-to-consumer. Saxena reports to the guy who was his boss at Amazon: Peter Faricy, who was appointed CEO of Discovery’s Global Direct-to-Consumer division in August 2018 and who headed up the Amazon Marketplace third-party seller business. In the newly created [...]

  • Sean Hannity Reveals Broadband Plans for

    Sean Hannity Reveals His Plans for Fox News Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sean Hannity sometimes tells younger colleagues at Fox News Channel that he is “the bridge between two generations of Fox” because he has been part of its primetime lineup since 1996. Now he may serve a similar purpose for a third. Fox News will next week bring Hannity to the world of video-streaming, launching “Hannity [...]

  • SUITS -- "Whale Hunt" Episode 812

    'Suits' Renewed for Ninth and Final Season at USA Network

    “Suits” has been renewed for Season 9 at USA Network, which will be the show’s last. The announcement comes ahead of the premiere of the back half of Season 8, which debuts tonight. The final season of “Suits” will consist of 10 episodes. The series, which hails from creator Aaron Korsh, has aired on the [...]

  • Sundance Doc ‘Stieg Larson: The Man

    Stieg Larsson Doc Screening at Sundance Gets First Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire” is the latest documentary feature from famed Swedish TV director Henrik Georgsson, and tells the story of the life and work of Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson, best known for his “Millennium” book series featuring journalist Mikael Blomqvist and punk-rock hacker Lisbeth Salander. The film’s sales [...]

  • NBC Promotes 'Saturday Night Live' PR

    NBC Promotes 'Saturday Night Live' PR Chief Lauren Roseman

    NBC has promoted longtime “Saturday Night Live” PR chief Lauren Roseman to senior VP of NBC Entertainment Publicity. Roseman oversees the NBC Entertainment Publicity team in New York in addition to leading PR for “SNL” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” With the promotion, she will also focus on media relations, strategy and events in [...]

  • Patrick Wachsberger Lionsgate

    Patrick Wachsberger Launches TV Company With France's Federation Entertainment

    Patrick Wachsberger, the former co-chairman of Lionsgate who recently created Picture Perfect Entertainment, is joining forces with France’s Federation Entertainment to launch a new TV production company called Picture Perfect Federation. The banner will be dedicated to the development and production of premium TV series for the U.S., as well as international co-productions. Wachsberger and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content