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Gwenyth Evelyn Verdon (Culver City, January 13, 1925 – Woodstock, October 18, 2000), better known as Gwen Verdon , was an acclaimed dancer and American actress, winner of a Tony Award.
Verdon was born in Culver City (California), daughter of Joseph Verdon and Gertrude Standring, who were British emigrants in the United States who had entered Canada. His only brother was Farrel Verdon. His father worked as an electrician at the MGM studios and his mother was a dance teacher.
As a child, Verdon suffered from rickets, which led her to remain in her early years with orthopedics. Her mother, at age three, enrolled her in ballet classes to strengthen her legs and speed up her movements.
By the age of six, Verdon was already on stage a tap dancer. He also studied jazz and ballroom dancing. At age 11, Verdon appeared as a solo dancer in the musical film The King Steps Out (1936) directed by Josef Von Sternberg and starring Grace Moore and Franchot Tone. She attended Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, she also studied with the renowned ballet master Ernest Belcher.
Verdon surprised her parents and instructors when she abandoned her career at 17 to marry her first husband in 1942. In 1945 she appeared as a dancer in the musical film The Blonde From Brooklyn. After her divorce, she entrusted her young son to her parents.
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