Tony-nominated choreographer Robert Tucker died December 22.
Tucker began his career of dance at the age of five in his home state of Oregon. He left after high school to pursue a film career in California. He danced in movies and later moved to New York where he landed a job in One Touch of Venus with Mary Martin. He continued his work on Broadway and on television’s The Show of Shows.
Before his choreography days, Tucker started as a performer on Broadway in Porgy and Bess in 1942. He danced in such iconic shows as Call Me Madam, Of Thee I Sing, and Peter Pan starring Mary Martin, where he also served as the assistant to choreographer Jerome Robbins.
Tucker was Ballet Master to Robbin’s Ballet USA for several years. Tucker assisted Robbins in Les Noces for the Ballet Theatre. Bob Fosse began to take an interest in Tucker’s career. A long and prosperous partnership began that culminated in a collaboration on Hail the Conquering Hero.
The dancer made his Broadway choreographic debut as co-choreographer of Nöel Coward’s Sweet Potato in 1968. He went on to work on the dance arrangements and choreography of Lorelei, Gypsy with Angela Lansbury in 1974, Shenandoah—for which he earned his Tony nomination—A Musical Jubilee, Angel, The American Dance Machine, My Old Friends, and the 1989 revival of Shenandoah.
During his career, Tucker also assisted Robbins and Fosse on Bells Are Ringing and staged the London company production of the show. He also assisted Robbins on Gypsy and the subsequent 1962 movie starring Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell; and worked with Fosse on Sweet Charity and New Girl in Town.
He is survived by his children Ian Tucker, Zan Charisse, and Nana Visitor, and eight grandchildren.