The star of forty motion pictures and Broadway shows, national tours and innumerable television appearances, Ann Miller has been tap dancing since her earliest childhood days.
Ann Miller was born April 12, 1923 in Houston, Texas. she lived there until she was nine, when she and her mother left her philandering father for California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job. After taking tap-dancing lessons, she got jobs dancing in various Hollywood clubs while being home-schooled.
Ann began her Hollywood career at age eleven, and with her vibrant personality, great legs and her tap dancing, won a seven year contract with R.K.O. at the age of thirteen (claiming to be eighteen). RKO asked her to prove she was 18. Ann managed to get hold of a fake birth certificate, and so was signed on. She was so remarkable that at age fourteen she played Ginger Roger's dancing partner in "Stage Door", which started a film career that spanned 20 years. Ann continued playing dancers and ingénues in such films as "You Can't Take It with You" (1938), "Room Service" (1938), and "Too Many Girls" (1940). During that period, Ann appeared in more than 40 films. At fifteen, Ann was "borrowed" by Columbia to appear with James Stewart and Jean Arthur in "You Can't Take It With You" which won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1938. That same year, back at R.K.O., she appeared with the Marx Brothers in "Room Service". She left R.K.O. and starred on Broadway in the "George White Scandals of 1939" and "1940" where she was a smash hit. Following her initial contract with R.K.O., Ann came back to appear in the Rogers and Hart musical, "Too Many Girls". She went on to make twelve movies in six years at Columbia Studios. She was borrowed by Republic Studio to star in Gene Autry's first musical "Melody Ranch" in 1940 and "Hit Parade" of 1941.
Ann Miller was then signed by MGM where, from the late forties to the mid fifties, she starred in some of MGM's most spectacular musical productions, as well as, in films where she played straight acting roles. These memorable musicals included "Easter Parade" which featured her dancing with Fred Astaire and "On The Town" with Gene Kelly. Ann appeared in top notch form in the role of Bianca, in what is considered her finest film for MGM, "Kiss Me Kate". Several of Ann Miller's legendary dance and song routines were featured in "That's Dancing" and the popular retrospective films "That's Entertainment I", and "That's Entertainment 11". In 1994 she was the hostess for the Fred Astaire segment of "That's Entertainment III which also featured some of her dance numbers.
For years, MGM was proud to have the outgoing, charming and articulate Ann Miller represent them around the world on speaking engagements, and personal appearances as a most effective Good Will Ambassador. At the end of her MGM contract she flew overseas to Morocco to entertain on the Timex TV Hour for Bob Hope. She sang and danced "Too Darn Hot" in 120 degrees heat entertaining rive thousand soldiers.
She was an incredible success as she took over the role of "Mamell" on Broadway from 1969 to 1970 and has been acclaimed for her fantastic performance with Mickey Rooney in "Sugar Babies" for nine years, which played for three years (1979-1982) on Broadway, and then toured the country for four and one-half years. She and Mickey both appeared for six months on the London stage in 1989.
Ann appears frequently on television interview shows including Sally Jessy Raphael, Phil Donahue, David Letterman, Joan Rivers and the Vickie Lawrence show. In 1994 she appeared on the Conan O'Brien and Tom Snyder shows. Her sparkling wit and humor made her a delightful guest. She has appeared as a guest star in numerous television shows including a special with Ann Margaret in "Dames at Sea" and a two hour version of the "Love Boat" with Ethel Merman, Carol Channing and Van Johnson. Ann did a straight acting stint as a guest star on the situation comedy called "Out of This World" in 1991 and appeared as a guest star on the hit series "Home Improvement" in 1993 with Tim Allen.
Ann Miller is the recipient of many awards. Among them the Best Legs Award from the Hall of Fame. The George M. Cohen award for the best female entertainer in 1980 and the prestigious Sarah Siddons award for best performer of the year for "Sugar Babies" in 1984. She was also nominated for a Tony award for "Sugar Babies" and a also a nominee for the Laurence Olivier award in London in 1989 for "Sugar Babies" She was just honored on "This is Your Life" television show in England, which included twenty stars who came to honor her. Ann received an award for the best dance number from the Dance Awards of America for the MGM Disney television dance special. In 1992 she was honored for the Life Time Achievement Award bestowed upon by the University of Southern California. She recently received the Ms. Wonderful Award from the Thalians and then the Gene Autry Golden Boot Award for her performances in western films in the 1940's. The Gypsy Award for her life time achievement from the Dance Society of America in 1993 was received and most of Hollywood came to honor her. In 1994 she received the Flo-Bert Tap Dancers of America Award in New York and a life time achievement award from the Inner Critics Circle of Arizona was received in July of 1994.
Ann has written two books: an autobiography "Miller's Highlife" and "Tapping Into the Force" which is about her psychic abilities. She is also an avid reader, particularly of books about archeology, a science in which she participates actively traveling to Egypt, Israel and the middle east.
Currently Ann lives in Beverly Hills with her secretary "Debbie" and her dogs "Angel" and "Koko". She travels back and forth to her vacation home in Sedona, Arizona where she finds the peace and tranquillity of the mountains a refreshing change from the hectic pace of Hollywood.
Women's International Center