January 23, 2004 by

Ann Miller

17 comments

Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Musicians, Writers/Editors

amiller.jpgAnn Miller, the dazzling tap dancer and actress, died on Jan. 22 from lung cancer. She was 80.
Born Johnnie Lucille Collier, she was a childhood dance prodigy whose “machine gun” feet were once clocked at 500 taps a minute. The Texas native changed her name to Annie and moved to California when her parents divorced. There she decided to dance professionally in order to support her mother and herself.
In Hollywood, Miller danced in vaudeville and appeared as a chorus girl in minor musicals. Her breakthrough role was in the Frank Capra film, “You Can’t Take It With You,” which won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Picture.
For the next three decades, Miller appeared in more than 40 movies, including “Room Service,” “Two Tickets to Broadway,” “Deep in My Heart,” “The Opposite Sex” and a musical version of “The Women.” When Cyd Charisse suffered an injury, Miller replaced her in “Easter Parade,” and landed an MGM contract. She later teamed up with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in “On the Town,” and with Bob Fosse in “Kiss Me Kate.” Like Betty Grable, her stunning legs were once insured by RKO for $1 million.
Miller later moved to New York to earn millions singing and dancing in the Broadway productions of “Hello, Dolly” and “Mame.” She also toured with Mickey Rooney in the national production of “Sugar Babies,” served as a Good Will Ambassador, entertained the troops with Bob Hope and the USO and published two books. Her star on the Walk of Fame is located at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.
Miller’s Filmography

17 Responses to Ann Miller

  1. Valerie

    Throughout her life, she was witty and generous; always willing to share her memories of old Hollywood and its icons. Glamorous to the end, her awesome tap dancing routines will live on forever. Thanks for the memories Ann Miller.

  2. George

    Ann Miller was one of the last of the great REAL “movie Stars”. I met her once and she was more than gracious. I saw her STANDING IN LINE FOR TICKETS to see Beatrice Arthur in her one woman show in
    Los Angeles in 2001 and was thrilled she remembered me from our original meeting one year earlier. I saw her again sitting in her white car with license plates that read: ANNIE M in front of a grocery store in West Hollywood. She was active until the end and I will miss seeing her picture in the society pages – always dressed up like a true movie star!

  3. Patricia Palermo

    I loved the 13-year-old Ann Miller in “Stage Door.” young Ann Miller more than held her own against the somewhat older and much more famous stars Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, Adolph Menjou, and so many others. What a cast! What a film! Miller played a character whom Rogers called Stringbean; do not miss Miller’s dance routine with Rogers! To die for! I highly recommend that you rent “Stage Door, a too-often overlooked classic film with an all-star cast!

  4. keith

    ann miller is and was the epitome of hollywood glamour!!! she never dressed shabily…and her appearance on screen and televison always gets my attention and brings me joy!!!

  5. Joe Noda

    I remember when I was a kid how often I went to movies to see Miss Miller tap dancing; I really love how fast she taps…I really love her stunning beautiful legs. She was an outstanding woman.
    Few days ago I found the sad news (old news)about her death last year. I had the opportunity to see her and talk to her at The Plaza Hotel in New York, where I used to work for 30 years. I was blessed to talk to my favorite movie star.
    God bless her soul.

  6. Dom Mari

    I was a frequent visitor to Sedona, Arizona for my mother-in-law lived near coffee pot rock. I met a couple from there also that lived across from Miss Millers home. She was never there when we were, for I wish we had the opportunity to meet. I always thought of her as a gracious woman, and a tribute to her time. I just came across her book, Tapping into the force and love the part on Sedona. She is sadly missed but her spirit lives on. Thankyou gracious lady. Dom

  7. Becky H. Plauche'

    A very beautiful, gracious, and stunning lady with such a delightful personality. I would love to buy some of her movie tapping musicals. She was so inspiring and will live on in our hearts forever. A true talent.

  8. David Hampshire

    I met Miss Miller when I worked backstage on a Fred Astaire tribute in 2003. She was a gracious lady, so very smart. I ‘saved her life’ as she put it when just before her entrance her earing fell off and I fetched some toupee tape (from the dancers) and she went onstage with the earing taped on,..what a pro and what a talent. One of the last of the greats. RIP.

  9. Thomas Nawn

    I was so lucky to see Anne Miller in Sugar Babies along with mickey Rooney. To remember this fantastic performer who always gave it all . It is a privilege to add my name to this great tribute. I Feel A Song Coming On.

  10. Kevin

    I especially love the dance routine Miss Miller performed in “Easter Parade” as well as the number with the actress who played the original noisy neighbor from Bewitched in the movie “On The Town.” Those are the movies that I don’t think will ever be matched with the glamour or glitz that Hollywood put into those movies.

  11. John Hardin

    Ann Miller was a beautiful girl especially in her earlier movies. In later movies still young and beautiful but developed a smile with slightly unattractive teeth. What made the difference? Did she have some type surgery or dental proceedure which detracted from her great beauty?

  12. Bob Kittredge

    I’m 78 so I have a rich Memory Of Ann Miller. She was always so vibrant so full of life I can’t really accept that she is gone. I loved dearly 3 great LADY dancers. Ann Miller, Ginger Rogers (who matched Fred Astair’s every step and did it backwards) and Cyd Charesse. All of these women were GREAT LADIES and never did a single discraceful act as do so many of today’s stars. They all led exemplarily lives. It isn’t widely known, but Ginger Rogers was a devote Christian Scientist and as far as I know, never saw a doctor in her intire life.

  13. David Egerton

    I also, remember Ann Miller. In the 1980’s I worked at the Essex House Hotel on Central Park South in New York City. She lived in an apartment on 58th Street, right behind the Hotel. Also, wanting to be glamorous and forever the star. She would tell her limo driver to pick her up on Central Park South in front of the Essex House Hotel. She wanted to be sure she made a grand exit (or entrance, as she was dropped off there as well)by walking, no glidding, through the hotel lobby from the back door to the front waving and smiling to all the tourists and on lookers there. I can clearly picture her with a beautiful white gown, hair wrapped in a tight white turbin and a white mink stow, shining as she strode down the aisle looking like the star she was. What a LADY.

  14. millie evon

    If possible, I never missed a movie with Ann Miller. Such a beauty and such a lady. I took tap
    when I was a child and she inspired me. As an adult, her inspiration brought me to the Arthur
    Murray studios, where I became a dance instructor.
    She will always be missed, along with those other
    great dancers, Elinor Powell, Ginger Rogers, Cyd
    Charisse, and lets not forget the male counterparts. There was the wonderful Dan Dailey,
    Gene Kelly (who performed in a near-by town,Buddy
    Ebsen and George Murphy. What did I forget the masters, Fred Astaire and Bob Fosse?? What memories.

  15. Ivan Halloran..Australia

    Ann Miller was just a few years older than me, and as a young fellow I was madly in love with her. She was the most under rated Hollywood star of the era, and I can beleive the above tributes as she was a genuine lady. The only female dancer to compare with her was Cyd Cheresse

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