Cathy Rigby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cathleen Roxanne Rigby
Born (1952-12-12) December 12, 1952 (age 63)
Los Alamitos, California, U.S.
Nationality U.S American
Other names Cathy Rigby McCoy, Cathy Rigby Mason
Occupation speaker, actress,
former gymnast
Known for gymnastics, acting
Spouse(s) Tom McCoy

Cathleen Roxanne Rigby (born December 12, 1952), known as Cathy Rigby, is an actress, speaker, and former gymnast. Her performance in the 1968 Summer Olympics helped to popularize the sport of gymnastics in the United States. After her retirement, she became a stage and television actress. She is most noted for the role of Peter Pan, which she played for more than 30 years. She also became a public speaker on the subject of eating disorders, which she struggled with and overcame.


Early life[edit]

Cathy Rigby was born in Los Alamitos, California on December 12, 1952. She has an older brother, Steve Rigby; older sister, Michelle; younger brother, Jeff; and a younger sister, Jill. She is the daughter of Anita & Paul Rigby.[citation needed]

Gymnastic career[edit]

Medal record
Women's artistic gymnastics
Representing  United States
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1970 Ljubljana Balance beam

Rigby's participation in the 1968 Summer Olympics as the highest-scoring American gymnast made her a favorite with American television audiences and helped to popularize gymnastics in America. She was U.S. National Gymnastic Champion in 1970 and 1972. She became the first American woman to win a medal at a World Gymnastics Championships, the silver medal on the balance beam at the 1970 Championships.

She also competed in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team, but was hampered by injury. Prior to the games, she had been working on a move for the balance beam that was quite risky for the time: an aerial walkover, in which she somersaulted forwards. Because she was injured, she did not attempt this move during the competition and did not win a medal.

Rigby retired from gymnastics after the 1972 Summer Olympics. She married professional football player Tommy Mason, ran a successful gymnastics camp, had two sons, and began acting.

Acting career[edit]

In 1974, the producers of a showy, theater-in-the-round version of Peter Pan were trying to capitalize on her fame and skill when they offered her the title role. The shy gymnast commented that she was "scared to death" during rehearsals; only 20 and just a year into "retirement," she had no idea what she would be doing with the rest of her life when the role came along. To her surprise, she discovered she could not only pull off playing Peter Pan, but that she actually enjoyed doing it.[1]

In the mid-1970s, Rigby shattered an old taboo by appearing in a series of TV commercials for Stayfree maxi-pads created by Young & Rubicam copywriter Peter Cornish, thereby becoming the first celebrity to endorse a feminine hygiene product. Rigby then turned her efforts to television, working for 18 years as a commentator for ABC Sports and appearing in made-for-television movies. In 1976, she appeared in a role as a guest star Russian gymnast on the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.

In 1981, Rigby starred as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. During that production, Rigby met her second husband, Tom McCoy. She credits McCoy with enabling her to fight bulimia, a disease which she had lived with since the end of her gymnastics career.[2] She had two daughters, Theresa and Kaitlin, with her second husband. Other theatrical appearances included Annie Get Your Gun and Meet Me In St. Louis.

During the 1980s, Rigby began publicly speaking about her experiences with eating disorders. Rigby, who suffered from bulimia for 12 years, in an article she wrote for People Magazine in 1984, said: "I wanted to be perfect in my attitude and in my weight. Inside I was going crazy. I probably consumed 10,000 calories a day or more in fast foods. I can tell you where every McDonald's and Jack in the Box was along the way (to my voice lessons)—and every bathroom where I could get rid of the food."[3] According to a People Magazine interview in 1991, "twice she was hospitalized and nearly died from electrolyte imbalance."[4]

In 1990, Rigby again appeared as Peter Pan on Broadway and later took the production on tour. Rigby received excellent reviews for her performance and was nominated for a Tony Award.[5] She played the role again in 1998–1999. In 2002–2003, she played the lead in the touring production of the musical Seussical, but in 2004–2005 she again toured as Peter Pan, billing it as her farewell.[6] Yet she returned to the role in 2008 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh and in 2009 at the Mansion Theater in Branson, Missouri.

In August 2011, Rigby showed audiences that she "won't grow up" when she started another Peter Pan tour at the age of 60, continuing through 2013.[7] In 2012, she appeared in American Girl's McKenna Shoots for The Stars, as McKenna's gymnastics coach.[8] Rigby confirmed that she was leaving the role of Peter Pan for good when her tour concluded on April 28, 2013.[9] She said, "No, we don't say goodbye, because saying goodbye means forgetting, and I'm not forgetting, I'm just going to find another adventure."

In late August 2015, Rigby reprised her role once again as Peter Pan in a limited 15 day run at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver.[10][11]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "Theater", USA today, Oct 2, 2004  |contribution= ignored (help).
  2. ^ Pendergast, Tom, and Sara Pendergast. St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000.
  3. ^ Rigby McCoy, Cathy. "A Onetime Olympic Gymnast Overcomes the Bulimia That Threatened Her Life" People Magazine, August 13, 1984
  4. ^ Goodman, Mark. Cathy Rigby, Flying High" People Magazine, May 6, 1991
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth (24 August 2011). "Cathy Rigby Dusts Off Her Shadow for Peter Pan Tour, Beginning Aug. 24". Playbill ( Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  6. ^ "Cathy Rigby in her farewell performance as Peter Pan". Out & About Newspaper. 1 May 2005. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  7. ^ "Wired Again! Cathy Rigby Will Tour as Peter Pan in 2011–12", Play bill, retrieved April 24, 2013 
  8. ^ "Young gymnast conquers difficulties in 'McKenna Shoots for the Stars'". The Detroit News. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Cathy Rigby Takes Final Flight as 'Peter Pan'", BWW Interviews, Boston: Broadway world, retrieved April 24, 2013 .
  10. ^ "Peter Pan at the PNE keeps star Cathy Rigby eternally young: The Tony Award-nominee and former Olympic gymnast has come out of retirement to perform". CBC. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Cathy Rigby still flying high as Peter Pan". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Wulf, Steve (2015-03-23). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  • ^ "Cathy Rigby". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 

External links[edit]