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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 19 February 1902Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 18 May 1986Los Angeles, California, USA  (cerebral hemorrhage)

Mini Bio (1)

John William Sublett was born on February 19, 1902 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He was an actor, known for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Variety (1936) and Cabin in the Sky (1943). He was married to Wanda and Viola. He died on May 18, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Viola (? - ?) (divorced)
Wanda (? - 18 May 1986) (his death)

Trivia (8)

Retired from show business in 1967 after a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.
He could not read music; composer George Gershwin had to teach him the music for the role of Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess" note by note.
Although he appeared in the original production, John "Bubbles" Sublett did not sing the role of Sportin' Life in the so-called "original cast album" of "Porgy and Bess", made in 1940. He was replaced on that 78-RPM album by Avon Long, who then went on to sing the role in both the 1942 Broadway revival of "Porgy and Bess", and in the first 3-LP recording of the work, made in 1951, the most complete version recorded up to that time. Sublett finally recorded his two big songs from "Porgy and Bess" on the 1963 hi-fi/stereo LP of excerpts from the opera, starring Leontyne Price and William Warfield.
Singer, comedian and rhythmic tap dancer
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 138-139. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2002 (inaugural class).
Known as the "Father of Rhythm Tap," he was the first tapper to drop his heels, adding complex rhythms and syncopations.
Gave tap lessons to Fred Astaire, and coached Astaire for his "Bojangles of Harlem" performance in the film Swing Time.

Personal Quotes (1)

Asked who was the best tap dancer, "You're looking at him."

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