May 11, 1932|
|Died||February 19, 2013
Santa Monica, California
John F. Brascia (May 11, 1932 – February 19, 2013) was an American actor and dancer, noted for his dancing partnerships on film with Vera-Ellen in White Christmas (1954) and with Cyd Charisse and Liliane Montevecchi in Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956). With dancer Tybee Arfa (1932–1982), the dance team known as Brascia and Tybee became - beginning in 1957 - a top specialty in major U.S. nightclubs, appearing as the opening act for artists like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Tony Martin and George Burns, among others. Married in 1958, the duo appeared frequently on television's The Ed Sullivan Show (1958–1966) and on The Hollywood Palace (1967). Brascia began acting in non-dancing film roles beginning in 1967, culminating in 1980's The Baltimore Bullet for which he was Producer, and credited with the film's Story and Screenplay. Brascia died at a nursing home of Parkinson's disease in on February 19, 2013. He was 80.
Brascia made his Broadway debut on February 11, 1953 in the musical version of the film "Nothing Sacred," titled Hazel Flagg, which featured a score by Jule Styne and Bob Hilliard. The production was supervised and choreographed by Robert Alton (who choreographed the film White Christmas, featuring Brascia, a year later). Brascia won a Donaldson Award for his performance in the musical.
- "White Christmas" (1954)
- "Meet Me in Las Vegas" (1956)
- "The Ambushers" (1967)
- "The Wrecking Crew" (1969)
- "Executive Action" (1973)
- "Walking Tall" (1973)
- "Pray for the Wildcats" (1974)
- "S.W.A.T." (1975)
- "Joe and Sons" (1976)
- "The Baltimore Bullet" (1980)
John Brascia was a featured dancer in The Magic Carpet Revue, New York - Paris - Paradise, which opened at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas on May 23, 1955 and starred Vera-Ellen with a cast of 60.
"... the entire evening was built around Vera-Ellen, who tapped and did ballet and sung, happily undubbed, and wore gorgeous costumes by Hollywood's famed designer Howard Shoup. ... Her routines were based on those developed for her by Robert Alton. She did partnered dances with friend John Brascia, who was also given solo dancing opportunities."
Meet Me in Las Vegas " ... the best thing, by far, is the finale — a gaudy, satiric ballet, done to the old "Frankie and Johnny" ballad, as arranged by Johnny Green. Miss Charisse is accompanied in this one by Liliane Montevecchi as "the other dame" and John Brascia as the luckless Johnny, and the ballad, with modern bebop lyrics, by Sammy Cahn, is sung by the off-screen voice of Sammy Davis Jr. It's crazy, man! And cool!" -- Bosley Crowther, New York Times
- "Bingle All The Way - Crosby And Kaye Celebrate An Early 'White Christmas'". Life Magazine. October 11, 1954. Retrieved January 8, 2011. Photo of Brascia in "Mandy" production number.
- imdb.com, Tybee Brascia.
- Powell (2007), pp. 169-171.
- Powell (2007), p. 251.
- imdb.com, Brascia and Tybee.
- imdb.com, The Baltimore Bullet.
- ibdb.com, Hazel Flagg.
- Bloom and Vlastnik (2004), p. 312. Color photo of subject with Helen Gallagher.
- Suskin (1990), p. 294.
- Powell (2007), p. 170. Powell incorrectly reports that John Brascia won a Tony Award; she must have confused this with the Donaldson Award.
- Soren (2003), pp. 159-160.
- New York Times. March 14, 1956.
- Bloom, Ken and Vlastnik, Frank. Broadway Musicals - The 101 Greatest Shows Of All Time. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2004. ISBN 1-57912-390-2.
- Powell, Josephine. Tito Puente: When The Drums Are Dreaming. Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4259-8158-7 (hard cover). ISBN 978-1-4259-8157-0 (soft cover).
- Soren, David, with Banasiak, Meredith and Johnston, Bob. Vera-Ellen - The Magic and the Mystery. Baltimore, MD: Luminary Press, 2003. ISBN 1-887664-48-3.
- Suskin, Steven. Opening Night On Broadway - A Critical Quotebook of the Golden Era of the Musical Theatre, Oklahoma! (1943) to Fiddler on the Roof (1964). New York: Schirmer Books, 1990. ISBN 0-02-872625-1.