The first movie I watched starring Ann Miller was On The Town, and I was totally wowed by her dancing. Her legs were the longest on screen (or at least they seemed to me to be) and her tap speed was truly astonishing! Here are some facts you might not know about the lovely Ann Miller:
- Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Collier in Texas on April 12th 1923.
- Her father insisted on the name Johnnie because he wanted a boy.
- She started dance classes aged 5 because her mother believed it would help her to recover from having had rickets.
- Miller worked as a dancer in nightclubs and as a showgirl from the age of 13 (and possibly even as young as 9), getting away with pretending to be 18 because she looked much older than her age.
- In 1936, when she was 13 (and still pretending to be 18 with the help of a fake birth certificate) she was spotted dancing at the “Black Cat Club” by Lucille Ball and got signed by RKO.
- Miller was credited with helping to develop tights during the 1940s to help solve the issue of tearing stockings during filming her dance routines. Instead of sewing stockings into her costume (meaning the garment had to be resewn every time they tore) her hosiery was made as tights instead.
- Miller was famed for her super-fast tap-dancing, and press at the time claimed she could tap an astonishing 500 taps per minute!
- She married 3 times, each time for less than 3 years. Her husbands were Arthur Cameron, Bill Moss and Reese Llewellyn Milner.
Here she is from another favourite movie the 1948 classic Easter Parade – I love the fancy tights she’s wearing in this clip too!