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FX's new series Fosse/Verdon has its subjects right there in the title: legendary choreographer Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, the dancer who inspired much of his most iconic work. The duo's professional relationship led to some of the most memorable work in contemporary musical theater and dance, and their off-stage relationship was also well-known for its passion and volatility. While Verdon was probably Fosse's most famous romantic partner, she certainly wasn't his only one. Fosse married (and divorced) three times in his life, as well as having a serious girlfriend for six years near the end of his life. His wives have gotten overshadowed by his legacy, but all of them were remarkable in their own rights.
Fosse's first wife was Mary Ann Niles, who also was his first dance partner. They married in 1947 and made their New York City stage debut in Call Me Mister a few years later. From there, they became regulars on the TV program Your Hit Parade and caught the attention of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Niles was a professional dancer, but after she and Fosse split up, she faded into obscurity. They divorced in 1951, just as Fosse's Hollywood career was taking off.
Fosse - Joan - McCracken - Broadway - Actress
In 1952, Fosse married Joan McCracken, a Broadway actress and dancer who had been featured in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma!. McCracken never quite became a household name, but at the time, she was noted for her particular innovation and ability at the crossroads of musical theater, comedy, and dance. McCracken was also well-liked in industry circles for being supportive of other performers, such as Shirley MacLaine, who she mentored.
Although McCracken's own career slowly declined in 1955 (as did her health), she was one of the most important influences on Fosse in the early days of his career. Fosse was,...
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