Margery Beddow, Fosse Dancer and Author, Dies at 72

Obituaries   Margery Beddow, Fosse Dancer and Author, Dies at 72
Margery Beddow, who first danced for Bob Fosse and then wrote a book about the choreographer, died Jan. 3 in her home in New York City. She was 72.

Ms. Beddow was in the chorus of 1959's Redhead and 1962's Little Me, two mid-career shows by renowned choreographer-director Bob Fosse. She was Fosse-muse Gwen Verdon's understudy on Redhead and eventually played the title role in tours across the U.S.

The dancer remained devoted to her mentor throughout her life. Fosse later granted her permission to write "Bob Fosse's Broadway," a study of the artist's work. The book is now in its fourth printing.

Talking to in 2008 about Fosse, Ms. Beddow said, "The point of his work was it was all about acting. Whether you're singing and dancing, you're acting. You're in the business of communicating ideas. Fosse had a subtext to the steps, so that you would be doing something with your hips, but with your eyes and your head, you're thinking 'How do you like this?' Something would be challenging, something would be 'Ha, ha, ha. I’m going to walk away now.' There was something you were thinking in each section."

Ms. Beddow began her career as a Prima Ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She, later danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. He first Broadway credit was Two on the Aisle in 1951. She danced in the original Mel Brooks movie "The Producers" with Zero Mostel and again, as one of the chorus of Little Old Lady investors, in the film version of Brooks' musical based on the same material, which was directed by Susan Stroman. She also played the role of the dancing teacher in the Catholic School in the 2008 film "Doubt."

As a choreographer, she worked on the Broadway show Wind in the Willows, which had a brief run in 1985. She also choreographed touring companies of shows associated with Fosse, including Can-Can and The Pajama Game. Most recently, in New York, she directed and staged an edition of Broadway by the Year at Town Hall. She recently received good notices for her turn as a Southern madame in the The Peccadillo Theatre's revival of the comedy Johnny on a Spot.

She is survived by her daughter, Pamela Jeanette Saunders, nieces Laura Parry and Margery Parry Colucci, and her sons A.J. and Chris Colucci, nephews David and Daniel Parry and his sons Joseph, Samuel and Austin. A memorial is planned in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Dancers Over Forty at P.O. Box 237098, New York, New York, 10023.

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