Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celebrate Good Times

Celebrating birthdays today...

Choreographer Onna White (March 24, 1922 - April 8, 2005) was nominated for eight Tony Awards, and won a special Oscar for her work on the film version of Oliver! (1968). She was also responsible for Lucille Ball's "dancing" in the infamous movie adaptation of Mame (1974), for which I'm sure she had to answer to Saint Peter.

Known as "The Sultan of Sequins," the boyishly dapper Bob Mackie (March 24, 1940) is so charmingly conservative and traditional in his own appearance, it's hard to believe that he's responsible for the outrageous creations worn by the likes of Cher, Carol Burnett, Diana Ross, Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch, Mitzi Gaynor, and countless other divas who would never be described as shrinking violets. Although the vogue for his bombastic, attention-grabbing designs peaked and ebbed in the 1980's (perhaps Brooke Shields' Brenda Starr finished him off in 1989), Mackie is still respected as a master of flamboyant showmanship and, of course, fabulous beadwork and sequins. And, having seen him as recently as February, we can say that, at 68, he still cuts a dashing, youthful, elegant figure.

Finally, George Wagner, better known as Gorgeous George (March 24, 1915 - December 26, 1963), is a footnote -- if that -- to contemporary pop culture addicts, but in his heyday, he was as big a television phenomenon as Lucille Ball or Milton Berle, as well as a recognized and acknowledged influence on everyone from fellow athletes like Muhammad Ali (to whom George advised, "Keep on bragging, keep on sassing and always be outrageous!") to R&B legend James Brown, to Bob Dylan (!). As the first wrestler to use theatrics and publicity to build up his own celebrity, as well as for the sport itself, George was a pioneer in peroxided pin curls, chiffon, and Chanel No. 5.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Mackie was a guest judge on the very recent "Ru Paul's Drag Race" and pretty much looks the same! It must be said that the lighting on the shoiw is hilariously flattering, however.