Thursday, October 08, 2020

Dancing Great Tommy Rall Dies at 90

The great dancer Tommy Rall has passed away.

Rall, described by Gene Kelly as "the best all-around dancer we had over at MGM," was 90.

The passing was first reported by a fan page where it was stated a hospice nurse had read him cards and fan mail before he passed away of congestive heart failure on Tuesday, October 6th. It was later confirmed by Deadline. (Update: Mike Barnes has also posted an obituary at The Hollywood Reporter.)

It's always especially sad for me when one of the dancers from SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954) passes on, as I love the movie so much.

Rall is seen here in a SEVEN BRIDES publicity photo with Betty Carr, who passed away back in 2008.

Another of his greatest film appearances was in MY SISTER EILEEN (1955), which features a remarkable dancing duel with Rall and Bob Fosse.

A link to that dance is currently available on Twitter.

I also came across a link for another dance from THE SECOND GREATEST SEX (1955), a rare Jeanne Crain film I'd love to see.

Another Rall performance I haven't yet seen is in the Audie Murphy Western WALK THE PROUD LAND (1956), which I do have on hand.

Here he is with Ann Miller in KISS ME KATE (1953):

Dancing with Miller, Bobby Van, and Bob Fosse in the same film:

More from SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. Here he's leaping on the far left along with Matt Mattox and Marc Platt; Virginia Gibson, Norma Doggett, and Ruta Lee are the ladies.

Years ago I met Rall at a SEVEN BRIDES event at the Academy, along with Ruta Lee, Julie Newmar, and Russ Tamblyn. He signed my own copy of the photo below, which is currently in deep storage.

With Marc Platt, Russ Tamblyn, and Jane Powell in another SEVEN BRIDES number:

Thanks to Mr. Rall for a great many happy musical memories.

Previously reviewed Tommy Rall films: SONG OF RUSSIA (1944) (also here), KISS ME KATE (1953), and MY SISTER EILEEN (1955).

Previous obituary tributes to SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS dancers: Betty Carr (November 14, 2008), Matt Mattox (February 22, 2013), Virginia Gibson (May 28, 2013), Marc Platt (April 1, 2014), and Norma Doggett (May 15, 2020).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

What A wonderful tribute to a wonderful dancer. He was so good.
Take care Ros

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laura: I also wanted to say what a wonderful tribute to Mr. Rall. I always loved watching him in dance in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", and "My Sister Eileen." But I have to say that my favourite performance of his was/is in "Kiss Me Kate." He had great chemistry with Ann Miller and his other co-stars, but my most favourite part of that movie is the dance number "From This Moment On" with Ann Miller, Bob Fosse, Carol Haney and Jeanne Coyne." I've watched the movie so many times and that dance number still takes my breath away. He was a great talent and he will be missed.

RIP, Mr. Rall.


9:44 AM  
Blogger JeffZanker said...

Rall did a fun number with Steve Martin and Robert Fitch in the great Pennies From Heaven (1981) from MGM

It's a dark musical, but the musical numbers are smashing.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your admiration for Tommy Rall, including your favorite numbers and Jeff, thank you for the YouTube link!

Betty, "From This Moment On" might possibly be my favorite dance number in the movies, after the Barn Dance from SEVEN BRIDES. It's spectacular!

Best wishes,

10:22 AM  

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