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Donald McKayle

Biography

Known very best for his socially-themed contemporary dance works from the 1950s and ’60s, this Emmy and Tony Award-nominated dancer and choreographer going the Inner Town Repertory Dance Business through the 1970s and founded the Donald McKayle and Dancers company in 1951. During his teenage years, he gained a scholarship to teach at New York’s New Dance Group. His initial choreographic function, a homelessness-themed piece entitled Saturday’s Kid, premiered in 1948, when he was eighteen years of age. He received Tony Prize nominations for his choreography focus on the 1970s and early 1980s Broadway productions of Golden Boy, Raisin, Doctor Jazz, and Advanced Ladies. He was raised in East Harlem, NY, as the boy of Jamaican immigrants. He educated with renowned contemporary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

Quick Facts


Full Name Donald McKayle
Date Of Birth July 6, 1930
Place Of Birth New York
Profession Dancer
Nationality American
Spouse Lea Vivante
Awards Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreographer
Nominations Tony Award for Best Choreography, Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
Star Sign Cancer

  • Facts
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#Fact
1 Has been nominated for Broadway's Tony Award five times: four times as Best Choreographer: in 1965 for "Golden Boy," in 1974 for "Raisin," in 1975 for "Doctor Jazz" and in 1981, shared with 'Henry le Tan' and Michael Smuin, for "Sophisticated Ladies;" and as Best Director (Musical) in 1974 for "Raisin." He has yet to win.


Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Private Debts 1989 Short choreographer
The Jazz Singer 1980 choreographer - as Don McKayle
The 31st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1979 TV Special choreographer
Cindy 1978 TV Movie choreographer
The Richard Pryor Special? 1977 TV Special choreographer
The 49th Annual Academy Awards 1977 TV Special choreographer
Minstrel Man 1977 TV Movie choreographer
Free to Be... You & Me 1974 TV Movie choreographer
The New Bill Cosby Show 1972 TV Series choreographer
Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1971 choreographer
The Great White Hope 1970 choreographer
Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman 1969 TV Special choreography
TCB 1968 TV Movie choreographer
Soul 1968 TV Movie choreographer
Ten Blocks on the Camino Real 1966 TV Movie choreographer

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Touched by an Angel 2000 TV Series Wilbur
The Cosby Show 1985 TV Series Ralph
...And Beautiful 1969 TV Movie Leader - Dance Troupe
On the Sound 1962 Short The boy

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Good Times 1974 TV Series 3 episodes

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The New Dance Group Gala Historical Concert: Retrospectives 1930s - 1970s 2008 Video Himself
Great Performances: Dance in America 2001 TV Series Himself
The Hollywood Palace 1969 TV Series Himself

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1977 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Minstrel Man (1977)


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