Tribute to Jack Cole

Los Angeles–based dance critic and arts journalist Debra Levine (Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, artsmeme.com) will co–host a special tribute to the influential dance maker Jack Cole (1911–1974) on Turner Classic Movies. The four–film tribute will be broadcast on September 10, 2012 starting at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). Ms. Levine joins TCM’s veteran host Robert Osborne to provide commentary.

From 1941 to 1962, Cole pioneered American jazz dance as an art form in Hollywood films. He contributed dance sequences to 30 movies at Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer, some credited, some not. Cole left behind a celluloid track record of outstanding filmed dance sequences with highly diverse themes, all with a recognizable Cole brand that is uncannily contemporary.

TCM schedule for September 10, 2012:

Tonight & Every Night (1945), 8 pm (ET), 5 pm (PT)
Columbia Studios, 1945 dir Victor Saville
Rita Hayworth, Lee Bowman, Janet Blair, Marc Platt

On the Riviera (1951) 10 pm (ET), 7 pm (PT)
Twentieth Century Fox, dir Walter Lang
Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, Gwen Verdon

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1952), 11:45 pm (ET), 8:45 pm (PT)
Twentieth Century Fox, dir Howard Hawks
Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell

Les Girls (MGM, 1957) 1:30 am (ET), 11:30 pm (PT)
Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, dir George Cukor
Kay Kendall, Taina Elg, Mitzi Gaynor, Gene Kelly

Who was Jack Cole?

Born in New Brunswick in 1911, Jack Cole’s extraordinary career as a top American dancer/choreographer began with pioneering modern–dance troupe, Denishawn. His innovative nightclub act, Jack Cole and his Dancers, toured the nation’s night clubs starting around 1933. In the mid 1940s in Los Angeles, Cole began a 20–year run as a brilliant and innovative Hollywood choreographer, crafting ingenious customized dance sequences for stars like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable and others. Cole coached the stars not only in movement but also in song and line delivery. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Levine called Cole’s “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) “a delicious confection, a piece of Hollywood perfection.” Jack Cole died at age 62 in Los Angeles in 1974.

About Debra Levine

Former modern dancer Debra Levine, a graduate of the City University of New York, is a Los Angeles arts writer specialized in dance. She blogs about film and dance at artsmeme.com. The Pittsburgh native has lived in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tel Aviv, nurturing her arts passion in all cities. Her criticism and feature writing are published in the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Dance Magazine.

Levine’s significant writing about Jack Cole includes:

Levine spoke about Jack Cole at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 2010 symposium on the choreographer. She was a Scholar in Residence at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2011. She was a Fellow at the NEA Classical Music & Opera Institute at Columbia University in New York. She was a Fellow at the NEA Dance Criticism Institute at the American Dance Festival at Duke University. In August 2009 she led the successful grassroots campaign to save the 40–year–running classic film program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Grants from the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation and Elizabeth Levitt Hirsch have supported Debra’s research into Los Angeles dance history.

Contact: Caroline Graham, C4 Global Communications, 310–899–2727, or caroline@c4global.com

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