Tommy Rall

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Tommy Rall
Born Thomas Edward Rall
(1929-12-27) December 27, 1929 (age 84)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Years active 1942-1988
Spouse(s) Monte Amundsen (1959-?)
Karel J. Shimoff (1967-present)

Thomas Edward "Tommy" Rall (born December 27, 1929, Kansas City, Missouri) is an American ballet dancer, tap dancer and acrobatic dancer who was a prominent featured player in 1950s musical comedies. He later became a successful operatic tenor in the 1960s, making appearances with the Opera Company of Boston, the New York City Opera, and the American National Opera Company.

Biography[edit]

Rall was raised in Seattle. As a child he had a crossed eye which made it hard for him to read books, so his mother enrolled him in dancing classes. In his early years he performed a dance and acrobatic vaudeville act in Seattle theaters and attempted small acting roles.

His family moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s, and Rall began to appear in small movie roles. His first film appearance was a short MGM film called Vendetta. He began taking tap dancing lessons and became a member of the jitterbugging Jivin’ Jacks and Jills at Universal Studios.[1]

Rall joined Donald O'Connor, Peggy Ryan and Shirley Mills in several light wartime Andrews Sisters vehicles including Give Out, Sisters, Get Hep to Love, Mister Big, and others. He also appeared in the films The North Star and Song of Russia.

Rall took ballet lessons and danced in classical and Broadway stages (Milk and Honey, Call Me Madam and Cry for Us All). He is best known for his acrobatic dancing in several classic musical films of the 1950s, including Kiss Me, Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Invitation to the Dance, Merry Andrew and My Sister Eileen.

Rall's film career waned as movie musicals went into decline. He had a role in the movie Funny Girl, as "The Prince" in a parody of the ballet Swan Lake. On Broadway he danced to considerable acclaim as "Johnny" in Marc Blitzstein and Joseph Stein's 1959 musical Juno (based on Sean O'Casey's play Juno and the Paycock).[2] Rall was highly respected by his contemporaries -- including dance greats Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor -- with the latter describing Rall as one of the “greatest dancers living...above Astaire and Kelly.” Rall is most remembered for his roles in Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and My Sister Eileen.

Personal life[edit]

Rall was briefly married to his Juno co-star, Monte Amundsen. Rall also dated Pier Angeli in 1954. He is now married to the former Karel Shimoff (born 1944).

In 2007, a dance instructor by the name of Fredric Brame was found to have been posing as Tommy Rall since the late 1960s. His biographies, resumes, and playbills all support that Brame was Fredric Brame aka Tommy Rall by the credits listed. When Rall found out about the masquerade decades later, through a friend of the family, Rall contacted the Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff's office. No legal action was taken against Brame since he technically didn't commit a crime. Rall only wanted Brame to stop taking credit for his work and if he continued or did it again a lawsuit would be filed.[3]

Filmography[edit]

Features:

Short Subjects:

  • Vendetta (1942)
  • Trumpet Serenade (1942)

Stage Work[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]