This week’s clip was nearly included as one of last week’s also-rans, but I gave it a fresh look and have decided to pronounce it “groovy” on its own. The only thing that made me hesitate to do so was my belief in the innate ungrooviness of its star.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire Ann Miller, her incredible talent and her career longevity. She was truly a legend. But groovy? Not normally, yet she has some supremely groovy moments here.
She was born Johnnie Lucille Collier (her father wanted a boy) in Houston, Texas in 1923. After her parents separation, she moved with her mother to Los Angeles where she found work as a nightclub dancer at the age of thirteen.
She found work as a nightclub dancer at the age of thirteen.
Since I know that no one in Hollywood would ever, under any circumstances, exploit a minor, I buy the official story that it was Ann herself who had a birth certificate dummied-up stating that she was eighteen. What’s not to believe?
She rode that phony certificate to a contract at RKO and later, MGM. She was famous for her lithe dancer’s legs, her tsunami inspired hairstyles and her speed. At the height of her career, she was clocked at up to 500 taps per minute.
Miller’s last on-screen appearance was in the 2001 David Lynch film “Mulholland Drive,” an intensely confusing yet satisfyingly hip final farewell.
Have a groovy weekend!