Director, Performer, Choreographer
( b. Oct 09, 1909 New York, New York, USA - d. Mar 26, 2008 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male
Best known for his work in This Is the Army, a 1942 Broadway show with music by Irving Berlin that later toured the world and was made into a movie in 1943, Sidney went on to create dance numbers for many of Hollywood's major talents. He choreographed dances for Rita Hayworth in "The Loves of Carmen" (1948), Debbie Reynolds in "Susan Slept Here" (1954) and Cyd Charisse in "Party Girl" (1958).
He worked with dancer and actress Mitzi Gaynor in film, television and stage productions. "No matter what Bob Sidney did," Gaynor said in a statement after his death, "he put his whole heart and soul into it." His style was "unique, fun and charming," she said.
In a career that began in the late 1930s and continued into the early 21st century, Sidney often tailored dance moves to actors not known for their dance skills. He directed Dom DeLuise, Susan Hayward and Tallulah Bankhead, among others.
"Bob was a confidence-builder for many people," said Larry Billman, a dance historian and author. "Stars relied on him to make them look good. They wanted to work with him."
Sidney was born Oct. 9, 1909, in New York City and attended New York University, where he was active in the drama society. He essentially was a self-taught dancer.
After graduating from college, Sidney was hired for the Broadway production On Your Toes in 1936 and later danced in Keep off the Grass, a 1940 musical revue choreographed by ballet dancer George Balanchine.
Sidney was drafted into the Army during World War II and was assigned to the Special Services Division, where he became principal choreographer for This Is the Army, the musical revue performed by actors, singers and others who were serving in the military. After opening on Broadway in summer 1942, the show toured U.S. military posts in Europe and the Pacific.
When he was discharged from the Army, Sidney went back to work in theater. He stage-directed Bing Crosby on Broadway in 1950 and worked on Las Vegas nightclub acts for Gaynor as well as dancer Joey Heatherton, singer Tony Martin and other entertainers. He also worked in television from the late 1940s for close to 30 years, stage-directing shows for Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como and other top performers.
In the late 1970s, Sidney helped found the Professional Dancers Society, which raises money to assist dancers in need and is an affiliate of the Actors Fund.
He wrote his memoir, "With Malice Toward Some, Tales From a Life Dancing With Stars," in 2003 with a separate chapter about the making of "This Is the Army," which was for him the high point of his career.
Source: LA Times obituary