Ann Miller

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Ann Miller was born on April 12, 1923 (some sources still indicate 1919) and died on January 22, 2004. She was an American dancer, singer and actress, who was christened Johnnie Lucille Collier in Chireno, Texas (some sources cite Houston, Texas).

She was considered a child dance prodigy. She was given a contract with RKO allegedly at the tender age of thirteen (she had told them she was eighteen), and stayed there until 1940. The following year, Miller was offered a contract at Columbia Pictures, where she bumped friend Lucille Ball from the throne as "Queen of the B-Movies". She finally hit her mark (starting in the late 1940's) in her roles in MGM's classy musicals such as Kiss Me, Kate, Easter Parade, and On the Town. Miller was famed for her speed in tap dancing; she claimed to be able to tap 500 times per minute.

Her father (from whom she would become estranged due to his infidelities to her mother) insisted on the name Johnnie because he had wanted a boy, but she was often called Annie. She took up dancing to help exercise her legs to help her rickets. Her film career effectively ended in 1956 as the studio system lost steam to television, but she remained active in the theatre. In 1979 she astounded audiences in the Broadway show Sugar Babies with fellow MGM co-hort Mickey Rooney. In 1983 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre. In 2001 she took her last role as "Coco" in auteur director David Lynch's critically acclaimed Mulholland Drive (film).

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Ann Miller has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.

She died at the age of 80 (or 84) from cancer that had spread to her lungs and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.


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