Cole, Jack, 1911-1974

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1911-04-27
Death 1974-02-17
Americans

Biographical notes:

John Ewing Richter was born Apr. 27, 1914 in New Brunswick, NJ; studied modern dance with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, ballet with Luigi Albertieri, and ethnic forms with La Meri and Mei Lan-Fang; performed as a Denishawn dancer under his real name and under the stage name, Jack Cole, 1930-32; joined (Doris) Humphrey/(Charles) Weidman dance group, 1932, making his Broadway debut in The school for husbands, 1933; served as dance director for many major Hollywood studios, but is most associated with Columbia Studios where he ran the Dance Workshop, 1944-48; well known for solos for Rita Hayworth in her "Put the blame on Mame" strip in Gilda (1946) and for Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen prefer blondes (1953) and Some like it hot (1959); from 1939, Cole and his dance groups appeared regularly on television variety shows including Bob Hope specials throughout the 1950s, The Perry Como show (1948-50 and 1955-59 seasons), and Sid Caesar's Your show of shows (1950-54); numerous motion picture credits include The Jolson story (1945) and Three for the show (1955) and theater works Candide (London, 1959), Donnybrook (1961), and Man of La Mancha (1965); died Feb. 16, 1974 in Los Angeles, CA.

From the description of Papers, 1935-1975. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 39764256

Biography

John Ewing Richter was born Apr. 27, 1914 in New Brunswick, NJ; studied modern dance with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, ballet with Luigi Albertieri, and ethnic forms with La Meri and Mei Lan-Fang; performed as a Denishawn dancer under his real name and under the stage name, Jack Cole, 1930-32; joined (Doris) Humphrey/(Charles) Weidman Dance Group, 1932, making his Broadway debut in The School for Husbands, 1933; served as dance director for many major Hollywood Studios, but is most associated with Columbia Studios where he ran the Dance Workshop, 1944-48; well known for solos for Rita Hayworth in her "Put the Blame on Mame" strip in Gilda (1946) and for Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) and "Some Like It Hot" (1959); from 1939, Cole and his dance groups appeared regularly on television variety shows including Bob Hope specials throughout the 1950s, "The Perry Como Show" (1948-50 and 1955-59 seasons), and Sid Caesar's "Your Show Of Shows" (1950-54); numerous motion picture credits include "The Jolson Story" (1945) and "Three For The Show" (1955) and theater works "Candide" (London, 1959), "Donnybrook" (1961), and "Man of La Mancha" (1965); died Feb. 16, 1974 in Los Angeles, CA.

From the guide to the Jack Cole Papers, 1935-1975, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Arts Special Collections)

Jack Cole began his career as a Denishawn dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, and continued with Ted Shawn's All-Male Dancers. In 1932 he and another ex-Denishawn dancer, Alice Dudley, began dancing in clubs, including the Rainbow Room, Ciro's, and the Flamingo. He also appeared on stage in venues such as Radio City Music Hall.

He developed a highly personal and eclectic style, based on the techniques learned in his early training, but grafting on elements from Indian, Oriental, Carribean, Latin American, Spanish, and African-American dance. He was known for his unpredictability and originality, for example setting authentic Hindu dance movements to a contemporary jazz score.

From 1937 until 1968 he also worked on Broadway and in Hollywood as both dancer and choreographer. His choreography for Villa Lobos' Magdelena won him the Donaldson Award, and he had success on Broadway with Kismet, Something for the Boys, Jamaica, Man of La Mancha, and Alive and Kicking among others. Films included Kismet, Three for the Show and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes . It is, however, for his choreography for Marilyn Monroe that he will be popularly remembered; he worked with her on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, and Let's Make Love .

Jack Cole died in 1974.

From the guide to the Jack Cole Scrapbook Collection, 1910s-1970s, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

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Subjects:

  • Choreographers--United States
  • Choreographers--United States--Archival resources
  • Dancers
  • Choreographers--Archival resources
  • Dancers--Archival resources
  • Dancers--United States--Archival resources

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)