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Donald O'Connor dies


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#1 Old Fashioned

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 05:25 PM

Hoofer, actor Donald O'Connor dies at the age of 78. Dance in peace, Don. :)

#2 Giannina

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 07:51 PM

What a loss. I always thought his dancing was overlooked because of the popularity of Kelly and Astaire. He was extremely talented.

Giannina

#3 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 07:56 PM

I got tears in my eyes. I loved the way Donald O'Connor danced -- I prefer him , actually, to Gene Kelly --

well, this is no time to be comparing one dancer to another, it's just the truth, that i n SInging in hte Rain, when the three of htem are dancing together, it's O'Connor I'm always watching --

He was so graceful, playful, heavenly, the way he danced. Everybody else is working so hard, he's playing. It really made me happy, such joyful dancing. A lovely, lovely spirit.

#4 Funny Face

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 08:01 PM

Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh! That was wonderful.

#5 Guest_arabesque42_*

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 08:55 PM

It is so sad today. When I heard the news I just couldn't believe it. I saw him in person when he performed in Chicago two years ago. He seemed like he was doing so well. At least I was fortunate enough to have watched him sing (and even dance a little) in that live performance.
I loved Singin' in the Rain. It was the first movie of his I had seen. I was amazed by his talent and I quickly became a big fan. He just seemed like a wonderful person as well as a great dancer. He most definately is my favorite tapper.
It is such a huge loss for him to be gone. :)
:( Heather

#6 dirac

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 10:34 AM

I don't think he was overlooked in relation to Kelly and Astaire O'Connor wasn't leading-man material, his looks and manner clearly indicated "Hero's Sidekick," and his dance style was comic and eccentric, a little like Bolger's. He just wasn't a star. Nothing wrong with that, and fortunately he worked in an era where musicals could incorporate the unusual without violating the artistic unity or whatnot.


I also find myself watching O'Connor instead of Kelly (same thing happened to me when he danced with the Nicholas Brothers in "The Pirate" but then any dancer who appeared next to Harold and Fayard at their peak did so at his peril.....).

#7 chauffeur

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:46 PM

I'm just discovering this "side" of the split forum, so forgive the late addendum to this thread. But I wanted to share this experience. Within a week after Mr. O'Connor passed away, our 10-year-old decided to pop in our "Singin' in the Rain" video so as to show our 5-year-old the "Make 'Em Laugh" number. As I got teary-eyed in the kitchen listening to the cascade of kiddy giggles in the other room, I suddenly and distinctly had the experience of someone, somewhere in the Great Beyond, saying "thank you" to us. It was epic.

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:59 PM

That's a lovely story, chauffeur -- thank you! (There's an interview with O'Connor on the DanceView Times site. I can't conjure up the url right now, but if you go to www.danceviewtimes.com and put his name in the search engine, you should find it. Or go to the DanceView Times forum at the bottom of this board; I'm pretty sure it's listed there.

I'm glad you're poking around, and I hope others do as well. It was my hope that if we showed the forum list (which was too long to do when the two boards were merged) that people would discover forums they hadn't realized existed. Don't forget to click on the American Ballet Companies link (and European and Other) -- you'll find lots of subforums inside. Also, the Ballets forum has subforums for some of the major ballets. Tell your friends :thumbsup:

#9 djb

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 10:10 AM

I also tend to watch Donald O'Connor when he's dancing with other people. As for the comment that his style was comic and eccentric, well, he certainly did that style well. But in other movies, his style could be romantic and even somewhat classical. A good example of his non-eccentric, beautiful, smooth, effortless dancing is in the number "A Man Chases A Girl" from "There's No Business Like Show Business."

#10 Paul Parish

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 08:43 PM

chauffeur and djb, let me recommend the interview with O'Connor that Alexandra mentioned. It was done by the very young and untried cub reporter Mindy Aloff way back when, and --- well, she asks him some good questions and he answers. It was very moving to read it -- the information he shares is of course interestinig, but hte thing that comes through best is his decency, his lovely personality --

I agree with you djb, "he did that style well" is an excellent way to put it. (And while I'm at it, I wish Hollywood had considered Ray Bolger handsome enough to have given us HIM as Balanchine's hoofer in Slaughte on 10th Avenue" instead of Eddie Albert, for Balanchine himself praised Bolger's dancing to the skies.)

I also find O'Connor's style classical -- in the same way the the Nicholas Brothers' were classical, the movement is measured, the economy of it is pleasing, and it's done for its own sake, it's not the function of an expressionist or exhibitionist agenda --


I really enjoyed reading the interview -- check it out.

#11 chauffeur

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:14 AM

Read the article and enjoyed it immensely. I never would have guessed he came from such a background!

and as a journalist myself, I also have to say I just love how unguarded and often more interesting public figures can be in "small" situtations, even when they know it's for publication. But with the Internet making so much more available today, I wonder if that will change the dynamics. I hope not!

#12 djb

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 03:15 PM

I had read the article, but didn't have time to mention when I last posted. I enjoyed it very much.

Another movie in which Donald O'Connor did some very elegant dancing was "Anything Goes," with Mitzi Gaynor. I don't know whether it's commercially available.

Here's a very informative website about Donald O'Connor

#13 Paul Parish

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 05:28 PM

INCREDIBLE web-site -- don't miss it....'

Good God almighty!


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