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Moira Shearer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (4)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK
Died in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK  (septicaemia and a urinary tract infection)
Birth NameMoira Shearer King
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Moira was born the daughter of Harold Charles King, a civil engineer, in Dunfermline, Scotland. She was educated at Dunfermline High School, Ndola in Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) and Bearsden Academy, Scotland. She received her professional training at the Mayfair School and The Nicholas Legat Studio. She made her debut in the International Ballet with 1941 and then danced at Sadler's Wells in 1942. From 1942 to 1952 she danced all the major classic roles and a full repertoire of revivals and new ballets. Her first ballet role was "Sleeping Beauty" at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1946. She toured the United States with the Sadler's Wells Ballet in 1949 and in 1950/51. She toured as Sally Bowles in "I am a Camera" in 1955 and appeared at the Bristol Old Vic as "Major Barbara" in 1956. Although these performances were the start of her secondary career as an actress, she continued her primary career as a ballerina. She has appeared on TV as a ballerina and as an actress

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Spouse (1)

Ludovic Kennedy (25 February 1950 - 31 January 2006) ( her death) ( 4 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Red Hair and Blue Eyes
The role of Victoria Page in "The Red Shoes"

Trivia (20)

When her first daughter was born, the "Sydney Morning Herald" prefaced the article with the heading "Pink Booties for Red Shoes".
She married Ludovic Kennedy in February 1950 at the Chapel Royal in Hampton Court Palace, London.
She was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells in London.
Moira and Ludovic have one son and three daughters.
Member of the Scottish Arts Council, 1971-73.
Member of the BBC General Advisory Council 1970-77.
Toured the US, lecturing on the history of ballet and Sergei Diaghilev between 1977-82.
A joint portrait of she and husband Ludovic Kennedy, by the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha, is now part of the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
She and husband Ludovic Kennedy had four children, Ailsa Margaret Kennedy (born August 11, 1952), Rachel Katherine Kennedy (born November 16, 1956), Fiona Jane Kennedy (born December 20, 1961) and Alastair Charles Coverley Kennedy (born February 10, 1963).
Red-headed ballet star who literally danced her way to film fame with only one picture, The Red Shoes (1948). She has since made only a handful of others.
Arthur Freed wanted her to play opposite Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951) but Astaire was reluctant to dance with a ballerina. Gene Kelly asked for her for Brigadoon (1954). She turned down both film opportunities, much preferring the classical stage in those years. She went on to play "Titania" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in her Broadway debut and the title role in "Major Barbara".
Later was a book reviewer for the "Daily Journal".
Was performing at Covent Garden until 1953, when a combination of ill health, injury and her wish to make a name for herself as an actress made her decide to retire from the ballet stage at age 27.
Her father, a civil engineer, moved the family to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where she was pushed into dance lessons by her mother.
Performed in Frederick Ashton's masterpiece "Symphonic Variations", her red hair providing vibrant contrast to blonde ballerina Pamela May and brunette Margot Fonteyn. In 1948 Shearer replaced an ailing Fonteyn in "Cinderella". Many prefer her version to that of Fonteyn's.
Sister-in-law of Royce Ryton.
When Ludovic Kennedy saw her in The Red Shoes (1948), he said that he knew instantly that she was going to be the girl he would marry. He actively sought her out and married her two years later, in February 1950 in the Chapel Royal in London's Hampton Court Palace.
At the time she was selected to star in The Red Shoes (1948) she was second only to the world renowned prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn at the famous Sadler's Wells Ballet.
She was little-known and only in her early 20s when Michael Powell approached her about starring in The Red Shoes (1948), and she had never been in a film; Powell offered her £1000, a considerable sum for most people in those days (many earned less than that in a year) and was surprised when she held out for £5000, which he did eventually pay her. He also directed her in her two other films, The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Peeping Tom (1960), but she had little affection or respect for him and usually spoke harshly of him in interviews both during his lifetime and after his death.
In 2000 she was diagnosed as suffering from viral encephalitis, which impaired her memory.

Personal Quotes (4)

If I am dubious about films and film people; the film industry has only itself to blame.
I have been asked to play William Shakespeare. Other parts include a George Bernard Shaw play and a classic previously made by one of the screen's finest actresses. It would be ludicrous for me to try to play any of these parts. I am not an actress.
What people cannot realize is that a ballet dancer just cannot afford to give up ballet for a moment. After a month without practising you are thrown back years.
Isn't it strange that something you've never really wanted to do turns out to be the very thing that's given you a name and identity? . . . The Red Shoes (1948) ruined my career in the ballet. They [her peers] never trusted me again.

Salary (1)

Peeping Tom (1960) £2,000 for 6 days over 2 weeks

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