Ann Miller ~ The Talented Dancer

Ann Miller In Color

Ann Miller was a popular actress who became known for her tap dancing skills

She was born Johnnie Lucille Collier on April 12, 1923 in Houston, Texas. When she was a child she was diagnosed with rickets and started taking dance lessons to strengthen her legs. After her parents divorced she and her mother moved to Los Angeles, California. At the age of eleven she made her film debut in Anne Of Green Gables. Ann began dancing in nightclubs when she was a teenager. Lucille Ball saw her dance and helped her get a contract with RKO in 1937. She lies to the studio telling them she was eighteen even though she was only fourteen. The lovely brunette was given supporting roles in films like Stage Door and Too Many Girls. Ann quickly became known for her sensational tap dancing skills. During the 1940s she appeared in numerous B-movies including Time Out For Rhythm, True To The Army, and Caroline Blues. In 1946 she married millionaire Reese Milner and became pregnant. When she was in last trimester her husband violently pushed down a flight a stairs causing her to go into premature labor. Tragically her daughter, Mary, lived only three hours. After divorcing Reese she had brief romances with Milton Berle, Tony Martin, and Howard Hughes. She was signed by MGM in 1948. It was rumored that she had an affair with MGM president Louis B. Mayer.

Ann MillerAnn Miller In Color

Ann appeared in the hit musicals Easter Parade, On The Town, and Kiss Me Kate. Unfortunately she rarely got the chance to play any leading roles. By the late 1950s her film career had stalled and she began working in theater. She fell madly in love with politician William O'Connor. Sadly he was married and his Catholic wife refused to give him a divorce.  On the rebound she married William Moss, a rich oilman, in 1958. O'Connor tried to stop the wedding but he was too late. Her husband became abusive and she left him in 1961. Ann's third marriage, to millionaire Arthur Cameron, lasted only a year. In 1969 she starred in the musical Mame on Broadway. The she toured with productions of Hello Dolly and Panama Hattie. Her autobiography, Miller's High Life, was published in 1972. She was nominated for a Tony award in 1979 for her role in Sugar Babies with Mickey Rooney. As she got older she was often interviewed in documentaries about the Golden Age of Hollywood. Director David Lynch cast her in his 2001 drama Mulholland Drive. It would be her final film role. On January 22, 2004 she died from lung cancer at the age of eighty. Ann was buried next to her infant daughter at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Ann MillerAnn Miller In Color