Johnnie Lucille Collier, better known as Ann Miller (April 12, 1923 — January 22, 2004) was an American singer, dancer and actress.
Ann Miller was an American actress, singer, and dancer, renowned for her extraordinary tap dancing skills and vivacious personality. Born on April 12, 1923, in Chireno, Texas, as Johnnie Lucille Collier. Ann Miller became one of the most iconic performers in the Golden Age of Hollywood, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.
At a young age, Miller’s family moved to Los Angeles, California, where she began her career in show business. She started taking dance lessons and quickly displayed an incredible talent for tap dancing. Recognizing her potential, RKO Pictures gave her a contract at the age of 13. And so began her professional career took off.
Miller made her film debut in 1934 with a minor role in the musical comedy “The Devil on Horseback.” Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, she appeared in a series of films, often cast as the energetic and glamorous dancer. Some of her notable early films include “Stage Door” (1937), “You Can’t Take It with You” (1938), and “Too Many Girls” (1940).
In the 1940s, Miller’s career gained momentum, and she became known for her rapid-fire tap dancing routines and distinctive style. She signed a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1941 and starred in a string of successful musical films. Her performances in movies like “Reveille with Beverly” (1943) and “Easter Parade” (1948) showcased her exceptional dance skills and charismatic presence.
Ann Miller in the 1950s
During the 1950s, Miller continued to thrive in both film and stage productions. She starred in MGM’s musical comedy “Kiss Me Kate” (1953), where she delivered a show-stopping tap dance number. Miller’s talent and energy earned her a dedicated following, and she became a sought-after performer, captivating audiences with her electrifying dance routines.
In addition to her film career, Miller made numerous appearances on television, including guest spots on popular shows like “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” and “The Dean Martin Show.” She also headlined her own television variety series, “The Ann Miller Show,” in 1956.
Ann Miller on Broadway
As the 1960s and 1970s rolled in, Miller transitioned her focus primarily to stage performances. She starred in various Broadway productions. These include “Mame” and “Hello, Dolly“. Her mastery of tap dancing, along with her vibrant personality, made her an ideal fit for the stage.
Miller continued to perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She would participate in national and international tours and appearing in acclaimed revivals of classic musicals. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of “Mona Kent” in the Broadway production of “Sugar Babies” alongside Mickey Rooney. This earned her a Tony Award nomination in 1980.
Outside of her performing career, Miller also pursued other interests. She owned a successful fashion boutique and had a brief stint as a radio host in the 1950s. Additionally, she was actively involved in various charitable causes and supported organizations like the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
Ann Miller’s contributions to the entertainment industry were recognized with several accolades. In 2001, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Guild of Variety Artists. Her legacy as an exceptional dancer and vibrant entertainer continued to inspire generations of performers.
Death of Ann Miller
Tragically, Ann Miller passed away on January 22, 2004, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 80, from cancer, which had metastasized to her lungs. She was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
[Updated June 20, 2023]