Home / Biography / Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon

Biography

Dancer who also appeared in Marvin’s Space and Cocoon and was married to Bob Fosse. She received four Tony Honours for her focus on Broadway. She performed many types of dance such as for example faucet, ballroom, and jazz. She became known on her behalf flaming red locks. She wedded her second spouse Bob Fosse in 1960, as well as the few had a child in 1963. She performed the type Ruth alongside Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1996 film Marvin’s Space.

Quick Facts


Full Name Gwen Verdon
Date Of Birth January 13, 1925
Died October 18, 2000, Woodstock, Vermont, United States
Place Of Birth Culver City, CA
Height 1.62 m
Profession Movie Actress
Education Alexander Hamilton High School
Nationality American
Spouse Bob Fosse, James Henaghan
Children Nicole Fosse, Jim Henaghan
Parents Gertrude Lilian Standring, Joseph William Verdon
Siblings William Farrell Verdon
Awards Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Performances
Nominations Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Movies Damn Yankees, Marvin's Room, All That Jazz, Cocoon: The Return, Cocoon, The Cotton Club, On the Riviera, David and Bathsheba, The Farmer Takes a Wife, Walking Across Egypt, Nadine, Alice, The King Steps Out, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Bruno, The Merry Widow, Legs, Hollywood Musicals of the '50s, The Deadly Visitor, Best Friends for Life
TV Shows Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Legs
Star Sign Capricorn

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Gwen Verdon ranks with Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, and Carol Channing among Broadway's greatest stars of the 1950s and 1960s.
2Portrayed "Lola" in the stage version of "Damn Yankees!" and reprised her role in the movie, Damn Yankees! (1958).
3Collected glass perfume bottles.
4Was with husband, Bob Fosse, when he collapsed from a heart attack just prior to opening night of a revival of "Sweet Charity" at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. (he was the director/choreographer, she was the assistant choreographer.).
5Went on stage for a performance of "Sweet Charity" after finding out her mother passed away. She claimed that the only way she could cope was to go on with the show.
6She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1998 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
7For Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Gwen coached stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in both their dance and walk -- Monroe with less sex, Russell with more. It's rumored that at one point in the film, Verdon dubs both Monroe's and Russell's swaying bottoms.
8Never pulled the diva act and was not overly-possessive about her award-winning stage roles. In fact she gamely coached Shirley MacLaine on the set of Sweet Charity (1969), who was recreating Gwen's title character.
9Won four Tony Awards: one as Best Supporting or Featured Actress Musical) in 1954 for "Can-Can;" and three as Best Actress (Musical) in 1956 for "Damn Yankees!," a role she recreated in the film version of the same name., Damn Yankees! (1958); in 1958 for "New Girl in Town," in a tie with her co-star Thelma Ritter; and in 1959 for "Redhead." She was also nominated as Best Actress (Musical) in 1966 for "Sweet Charity" and in 1976 for "Chicago."
10Received further ballet training from Ernest Belcher, Marge Champion's father.
11Did not pursue dancing as a career until 1948.
12After her electrifying performance as "Claudine" in "Can-Can", Broadway critics hailed her as the greatest Broadway "discovery" since Mary Martin sang "My Heart Belongs To Daddy".
13Daughter of British emigrants to the U.S.A., who worked in Hollywood and lived in Culver City, where Gwen Verdon was born.
14Although she and Bob Fosse separated in '71, they remained married until his death in '87.
15Although uncredited, Gwen was assistant choreographer in the film version of Sweet Charity (1969), starring Shirley MacLaine.
16Before Sweet Charity went to Broadway, something terrible happened to Gwen. Her throat began hurting, but she continued to sing until she was almost completely voiceless. She was hospitalized, and it was discovered that a feather from one of the boas used for costume was wrapped around her vocal chords.
17Dance teacher in Culver City was Clara Reid.
18Suffered from childhood disease that caused her legs to be badly bent and misshapen; her mother enrolled her in dance to strengthen them.
19Brother: William F. Verdon
20First married at the age of 17 (to a tabloid reporter).
21Mother of Jim Henaghan (b. 1943).
22Mother of Nicole Fosse (b. 1963)
23Taught Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe to dance.


Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Bruno2000Mrs. Drago
Walking Across Egypt1999Alora
Walker, Texas Ranger1997-1999TV SeriesMaisie Whitman
Promised Land1998TV SeriesKaren Hatcher
Best Friends for Life1998TV MovieEdith Cooper
Touched by an Angel1997TV SeriesLorraine McCully
Marvin's Room1996Ruth
In Cold Blood1996TV Mini-SeriesSadie Truitt
The Cosby Mysteries1994TV SeriesYolanda
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All1994TV MovieEtta Pell, Old Folks Home Resident
Key West1993TV SeriesSister Grace
Homicide: Life on the Street1993TV SeriesJessie Doohen
Dream On1992TV SeriesKitty Brewer
Alice1990Alice's Mother
Dear John1989TV SeriesYvonne
Cocoon: The Return1988Bess McCarthy Selwyn
Webster1986-1988TV SeriesAunt Charlotte
Magnum, P.I.1985-1988TV SeriesKatherine Peterson
Nadine1987Vera
Hotel1987TV SeriesIris Lloyd
All Is Forgiven1986TV SeriesBonita Harrell
The Equalizer1986TV SeriesKelly Sterling
Cocoon1985Bess McCarthy
Trapper John, M.D.1985TV SeriesMs. Taylor
The Cotton Club1984Tish Dwyer
Gimme a Break!1984TV SeriesLily
The Jerk, Too1984TV MovieBag Lady (uncredited)
Parade of Stars1983TV MovieCharity
Legs1983TV MovieMaureen Comly
Fame1982TV SeriesMelinda MacNeil
M*A*S*H1981TV SeriesBrandy Doyle
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band1978Our Guests at Heartland
Deadly Visitor1973TV Movie
Love, American Style1972TV SeriesEstelle Mayberry (segment "Love and the New Act")
NET Playhouse1970TV Series segment "Actor's Choice"
- Foul!/Actor's Choice 1970 ... segment "Actor's Choice"
All My Children1970TV SeriesJudith Kingsley Sawyer (1982)
Damn Yankees!1958Lola
Gentlemen Marry Brunettes1955Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Once Upon an Eastertime1954TV MovieCathy
Goodyear Playhouse1954TV SeriesShirley Kochendorfer
The Farmer Takes a Wife1953Abigail (uncredited)
The I Don't Care Girl1953Specialty Dancer - 'Beale Street Blues' (uncredited)
The Mississippi Gambler1953Voodoo Dancer (uncredited)
The Merry Widow1952Specialty Can-Can Dancer (uncredited)
Dreamboat1952Girl in Television Commercial (uncredited)
Meet Me After the Show1951Gwen Verdon / Sappho, Dancer in No Talent Joe (uncredited)
David and Bathsheba1951Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
On the Riviera1951Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Blonde from Brooklyn1945Girl in Nightclub (uncredited)
Hoosier Holiday1943Cheerleader (as Gwyneth Verdon)
The King Steps Out1936Specialty Ballerina (uncredited)

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical Treasure2008TV Movie documentary performer: "Whatever Lola Wants" - uncredited
Dancing with the Stars2006TV Series 1 episode
Great Performances2003TV Series performer - 1 episode
American Masters1999TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
The 38th Annual Tony Awards1984TV Special performer: "Nowadays"
Parade of Stars1983TV Movie performer: "If My Friends Could See Me Now"
M*A*S*H1981TV Series performer - 1 episode
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band1978performer: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Finale
The Mike Douglas Show1976TV Series performer - 1 episode
That's Entertainment, Part II1976Documentary performer: "Can-Can" 1907 - uncredited
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell1975TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Ed Sullivan Show1969-1970TV Series performer - 2 episodes
The Bob Hope Show1968TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Danny Kaye Show1963-1964TV Series performer - 3 episodes
The Garry Moore Show1962TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show1959TV Series performer - 1 episode
Damn Yankees!1958performer: "A Little Brains, A Little Talent", "Whatever Lola Wants", "Who's Got the Pain", "Two Lost Souls"
The Colgate Comedy Hour1955TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Farmer Takes a Wife1953performer: "We're in Business" 1953 - uncredited
The Mississippi Gambler1953performer: "HAITIAN DEVIL SONG"
The Merry Widow1952performer: "Can-Can" - uncredited
Meet Me After the Show1951performer: "NO TALENT JOE", "I FEEL LIKE DANCING"

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Sweet Charity1969choreographer - uncredited
The Mississippi Gambler1953choreographer
Singin' in the Rain1952assistant choreographer - uncredited

Art Department

Art Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Great Performances: Dance in America2001TV Series artistic advisor - 1 episode

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Cocoon1985special music & dance coordinator

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Chicago2002dedicatee
Great Performances: Dance in America2001TV Series dedicatee - 1 episode
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: Always in Motion1999TV Movie special thanks

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Great Broadway Musical Moments from the Ed Sullivan Show2015TV Movie documentaryHerself - Interviewee
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There2003DocumentaryHerself
Biography2000TV Series documentaryHerself
The 53rd Annual Tony Awards1999TV SpecialHerself - Audience Member
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1999TV SeriesHerself
Great Performances1997TV SeriesHerself
The 48th Annual Tony Awards1994TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Revival of a Musical
The New Dramatists Lifetime Achievement Award to Neil Simon1994TV MovieHerself
Omnibus1994TV Series documentaryHerself
American Masters1990TV Series documentaryHerself
Great Performances: Dance in America1990TV SeriesHerself - Narrator
Wolf Trap Presents Victor Borge: An 80th Birthday Celebration1990TV Movie documentaryHerself
The 43rd Annual Tony Awards1989TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Direction of a Musical
The 41st Annual Tony Awards1987TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Choreography
Our World1986TV SeriesHerself
Night of 100 Stars II1985TV MovieHerself
The 38th Annual Tony Awards1984TV SpecialHerself - Performer & Presenter: Best Choreography
American Dance Machine Presents a Celebration of Broadway Dance1981TV MovieHerself - Host
The Mike Douglas Show1969-1976TV SeriesHerself - Singer / Dancer / Herself - Dancer / ...
The 30th Annual Tony Awards1976TV SpecialHerself - Nominee: Best Actress in a Musical
Dinah!1975TV SeriesHerself
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell1975TV SeriesHerself / Roxie Hart
Captain Kangaroo1975TV SeriesHerself
Broadway1973TV MovieHerself
The 27th Annual Tony Awards1973TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
Liza with a Z1972TV SpecialHerself - Audience Member (uncredited)
The 26th Annual Tony Awards1972TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
The 25th Annual Tony Awards1971TV SpecialHerself - Performer
Girl Talk1970TV SeriesHerself
Actor's Choice1970TV SeriesHerself - performer
The Merv Griffin Show1970TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Ed Sullivan Show1953-1970TV SeriesDancer / Singer / Herself / ...
The Carol Burnett Show1967-1969TV SeriesHerself
The Hollywood Palace1969TV SeriesHerself - Singer / Dancer
The Dick Cavett Show1969TV SeriesHerself
The Joan Rivers Show1969TV SeriesHerself
The 23rd Annual Tony Awards1969TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Choreographer
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1966-1969TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Jackie Gleason Show1968TV SeriesHerself - Musical Guest
The Bob Hope Show1968TV SeriesHerself
The Jonathan Winters Show1968TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Joey Bishop Show1968TV SeriesHerself
What's My Line?1966TV SeriesHerself - Mystery Guest
The Danny Kaye Show1963-1965TV SeriesHerself
The 18th Annual Tony Awards1964TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
The Garry Moore Show1961-1964TV SeriesHerself
The Bell Telephone Hour1964TV SeriesHerself
The Jimmy Dean Show1963TV SeriesHerself
The 16th Annual Tony Awards1962TV SpecialHerself - Audience Member
Person to Person1960TV Series documentaryHerself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show1958-1959TV SeriesHerself
The 10th Annual Tony Awards1956TV SpecialHerself - Winner: Best Actress in a Musical
The Colgate Comedy Hour1955TV SeriesHerself - Dancer / Herself - Singer / Dancer

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Webster1987TV SeriesAunt Charlotte
That's Entertainment, Part II1976DocumentaryClip from 'The Merry Widow' (1952)
Texaco Presents: A Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television1975TV SpecialHerself
The Ed Sullivan Show1969TV SeriesHerself - Singer
Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age2017Documentary post-productionHerself
Hollywood Singing & Dancing: A Musical History - 1970's2009Video documentaryHerself
American Masters2009TV Series documentaryHerself
Great Performances2003-2005TV SeriesHerself - Performer
Broadway: The American Musical2004TV Mini-Series documentaryLola (in 'Damn Yankees!') / Roxie Hart (in 'Chicago')
The 73rd Annual Academy Awards2001TV SpecialHerself (Memorial Tribute)
Twentieth Century Fox: The Blockbuster Years2000TV Movie documentaryBess McCarthy
Biography1999TV Series documentaryBess McCarthy
The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show 21991TV SpecialHerself
Paris Is Burning1990DocumentaryHerself (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1999Lifetime Achievement AwardMarco Island Film Festival

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1997ActorScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting RoleMarvin's Room (1996)
1997ActorScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a CastMarvin's Room (1996)· Meryl Streep
· Leonardo DiCaprio
· Diane Keaton
· Robert De Niro
· Hume Cronyn
· Hal Scardino
· Dan Hedaya
1993Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesDream On (1990)
1993Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Drama SeriesHomicide: Life on the Street (1993)
1988Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Performer in a Drama SeriesMagnum, P.I. (1980)
1986Saturn AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USABest Supporting ActressCocoon (1985)
1959BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsMost Promising Newcomer to FilmDamn Yankees! (1958)
1959Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Female New Personality4th place.

2nd place awards

2nd place awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1959Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Female Musical PerformanceDamn Yankees! (1958)


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1On second husband Bob Fosse: "Bob Fosse grew up around strip clubs. Women were his hobby. He'd even cheat on his mistress. Part of him felt guilty, another part was ecstatic. In the end, it helped lead him to an early death".
2Sex in a dance is in the eyes of the beholder. I never thought my dances sexy. I suppose that's because I see myself with my face washed, and to me I look like a rabbit.
3These girls I've played are naive and pure. They are looking for someone to really love. But they aren't very bright, and they haven't been brought up in a family situation that enables them to evaluate. As for the prostitutes, well they're 'loved' every 20 minutes, or what substitutes for love in about 90% of American homes-- I'm pretty cynical about that.
4I like the character of Charity because she's so hopeful. She's never bitter, and plenty of things happen to her that could make her bitter. She always thinks tomorrow's going to be beautiful. And someday it will be.

#Trademark
1Throaty, grainy, yet girlish singing voice
2Flaming red hair

Check Also

Martin Ceballos

Bassist and singer for the Sony Music-signed Spanish pop group DVICIO. The music group won …