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Joan McCracken
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    (December 31, 1917-November 1, 1961)
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Appeared on Broadway in ‘Oklahoma!’ (1943-44), ‘Bloomer Girl’ (1944-45), ‘Billion Dollar Baby’ (1945-46), ‘Peter Pan’ (1950), and ‘Me and Juliet’ (1953-54)
    Appeared in the films ‘Hollywood Canteen’ (1944) and ‘Good News’ (1947)
    She shaved five years off her age, and kept her actual year of birth secret from her second husband, Bob Fosse.
    Shirley MacLaine said she had a ‘foghorn voice.’
    Agnes de Mille blamed her career downturn on her abandoning comedy in a bid to be taken seriously as an actress: ‘Hollywood was screaming for her, but she got lost in being arty.’
    After her death from diabetes, she was cremated and her ashes were lost.
    She was a member of the first class of George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet.
    She was an innovator in combing dance and comedy with her choreographed pratfall during the ‘Many a New Day’ number in ‘Oklahoma!’
    She convinced producer George Abbott to hire Fosse for his first job as choreographer, in ‘The Pajama Game.’
    Fosse’s third wife, Gwen Verdon said that McCracken’s early death haunted him for the rest of his life.
    Fosse’s semi-autobiographical film ‘All That Jazz’ featured an angel of death dressed like McCracken in her final stage role.

Credit: C. Fishel

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