Tommy Wonder (dancer)

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Tommy Wonder (March 7, 1914 in Montana – December 11, 1993 in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City) was an American dancer, actor, choreographer, and artist manager. He was a principal dancer in the 1943 Ziegfeld Follies.

As a child, Wonder suffered from an unspecified physical disability which hindered his ability to walk; to help him, his mother used clothes and a broomstick to build a puppet on which he could support himself. Wonder named the puppet "Suzanne", and with its help he was able not only to learn to walk, but to dance at a professional level; an upgraded version of "Suzanne", designed by members of the Westmore family, with human hair, a Hubert Givenchy gown, and Wonder's mother's original broomstick, is in the Smithsonian Institution.[1]

Career[edit]

Wonder began as a child actor, performing in vaudeville; he subsequently appeared in the Our Gang films.[2] As an adult, Wonder performed in numerous musical comedies;[3] he also appeared in more serious films, including the 1938 Gangster's Boy.[4] By 1946, his fame was such that his presence at social events was considered worth reporting.[5]

In 1970, Wonder retired from performing and co-founded an artist management business with his former singing partner Don Dellair.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Puppetry: collections, history and performance, p. 209, edited by Phyllis T. Dircks, 2004; volume 23 of the Performing Arts Resource Series of the Theatre Library Association; via Google Books
  2. ^ Tommy Wonder, 78, Ex-Ziegfeld Dancer at the New York Times, December 18, 1993
  3. ^ Tommy Wonder at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Gangster's Boy at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ WIPO Domain Name Decisions: D2005-0293 at the WIPO; "The opening of the Casino was attended by many Hollywood stars of the day, such as Jimmy Durante, Tommy Wonder, Eddie Jackson and Rose Marie."
  6. ^ NEW YORKERS, Etc at the New York Times, Enid Nemy, August 14, 1988