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Hermes Pan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (5)

Overview (3)

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Died in Beverly Hills, California, USA  (stroke)
Birth NameHermes Panagiotopoulos

Mini Bio (1)

Academy Award-winning dance director responsible for choreographing several dozen of Hollywood's most truly memorable musicals, including every one of the nine Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers 1930s gems - not to mention Fred and Ginger's screen swan song, The Barkleys of Broadway (1949). He also choreographed some half-dozen of Betty Grable's musicals of the '40s and danced on screen with both Grable and Rita Hayworth.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs <kinephile@aol.com>

Trivia (5)

He was noted for his remarkable resemblance to Fred Astaire, and often served as a double during the planning of dance sequences for Astaire's films.
His given name Hermes may have come from the mythical Greek god, but his stage name Pan was simply an abbreviated form of the Greek surname Panagiotopoulos. Panagiotopoulos literally means 'son of Panagiotis', and Panagiotis is a common Greek given name derived from the epithet of Virgin Mary Panagia (All-Holy).
In the years he worked as a choreographer for Fred Astaire at RKO, Hermes always taught Ginger Rogers the dance steps well before she worked with her on-screen perfectionist partner. Hermes would first dance the Astaire part while Ginger slowly learned hers. Hermes resemblance to Astaire -- not only physically but as a dancer -- can be best seen in a specialty number he does with Rita Hayworth in the Fox film My Gal Sal (1942) a remarkable imitation of a Astaire and Rogers.
According to the DVD commentary for Top Hat (1935), he often dubbed Ginger Rogers taps for her films with Fred Astaire. He is rumored to have done so in high heels for authenticity.
The MGM Jerome Kern (27 January 1885-11 November 1945, age 60) biographical movie musical "Till the Clouds Roll By" featured Angela Lansbury (b. 16 October 1925) performing as a London music hall soubrette, swinging in a London vaudeville music hall production number. All of Angela Lansbury's previous MGM musical films had her singing voice performances ghost dubbed. Angela convinced producer Arthur Freed that she should do her own singing, as a London music hall soubrette, a light lyric soprano with a very youthful voice. Coloratura and soubrette are very closely related. A coloratura will have the flexibility and a few more usable notes on top, while a soubrette is required to have low A's. Angela's London music hall "swing" number was choreographed by Hermes Pan, (10 December 1909-19 September 1990, age 80), with a ton of dancing chorus boys, elaborate sets and costumes. Angela, born in 1925, twenty years old in 1945 when the sequence was filmed. Judy Garland at age 22 (10 June 1922-23 June 1969) performed her production numbers in "Till the Clouds Roll By", directed and staged by her new husband Vincente Minnelli (28 February 1903-25 July 1986). There is only one MGM stage on the lot where the theatre scenes were always filmed. The stage, located in the middle of the MGM lot, is on the main MGM street dividing the lot in half.

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