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|Born||Anthony C. Mordente
December 3, 1935
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Dancer, choreographer, TV director, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Chita Rivera, 1957-1966, divorced (1 child)|
Born in New York City, Mordente attended the High School of Performing Arts and made his professional dance debut at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. Soon after he joined the ballet company at Radio City Music Hall, where he was discovered by Michael Kidd, who cast him in the 1956 Broadway musical adaptation of the Al Capp comic strip Li'l Abner.
Mordente then was featured in the Broadway and West End productions and film version of West Side Story, albeit playing different roles (in the stage version he played A-Rab and in the film he played Action). Tony was the voice of Oliver Cool on the 45 rpm single recording, "Oliver Cool" b/w "I Like Girls" by Oliver Cool (Roulette R-4292). The record did not chart nationally in the US but was a big hit in Australia in 1961.
He understudied the title role and served as assistant to Gower Champion in Bye Bye Birdie (1960) before teaming again with Kidd for Ben Franklin in Paris (1964) and the ill-fated Breakfast at Tiffany's (1966), which closed during previews. He received his first credit as sole choreographer for Here's Where I Belong (1968), which never made it past opening night.
As an actor, Mordente appeared in the film Love with the Proper Stranger and had guest shots on the series Combat! and The Outer Limits. He began to choreograph for television variety shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
In the mid-1970s, Mordente switched gears and began to direct for television. His credits include twenty-nine episodes of Rhoda, ten episodes of Matlock, thirty-seven episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, five episodes of The A-Team, four episodes of The Love Boat, and thirty-three episodes of 7th Heaven, in addition to episodes of The Practice (1976), Busting Loose, Love, Sidney, Family Ties, Day by Day, and Burke's Law, among other television shows.