I’m starting a new section of the web site dedicated to TAP HISTORY. I love to research and watch videos of the stars that built Tap so I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite performers every now and then. If you are a Tap teacher, maybe you could share these short blurbs with your students.
I’ve already presented material about Ruby Keeler, Buster Brown, Gene Kelly, Anne Miler and Shirley Temple in the STEP OF THE MONTH sections. Video of these stars is readily available on You Tube and are really a treat to watch.
In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration, this Irish girl is gonna pay a wee bit of tribute to one of the most wonderful dancers, tappers and comedic performers of all time, Donald O’Connor.
Donald considered Danville, Illinois to be his home and my dad’s tap dance family hailed from the same sod! His father’s family was from County Cork Ireland…. the same roots as my own. (my maiden name is O’Riley!)
His mother, Effie and his father, Chuck were vaudevillian performers and Donald was part of the act from the time he was a toddler.
Donald received a Golden Globe award for the film “Singin’ in the Rain” which featured his iconic rendition of “Make ‘Em Laugh”. His athleticism and boyish charm set him apart and made him a lovable star of stage, screen and TV.
He was known for playing the comedic lead role in “Francis”, a hugely popular series of 7 movies about a soldier and a talking mule.
Donald was born on August 28, 1925 and died in September of 2003.
Here’s a link to a You Tube video of Donald in “Make Em Laugh”.