|Born||Denis George Mahan
June 15, 1950
|Occupation||Choreographer, television personality, actor|
Denis George Mahan (born June 15, 1950), better known as Deney Terrio, is an American choreographer, host of the television musical variety series Dance Fever from 1979 to 1985. In 1991, he sued Merv Griffin, the show's producer, for sexual harassment; the US$11.3 million case was later dismissed.
Raised in Titusville, Florida, Terrio achieved fame as the dance coach and choreographer for John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever. During his heyday with Dance Fever, he appeared in a number of films, including The Idolmaker, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, A Night in Heaven and Knights of the City and guest starred on popular television series of the time including The Love Boat. Throughout the 1990s, he toured nightclubs, performing with Motion and judging dance contests. Terrio was referred to in the popular Steve Martin movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in which Martin's character, a con-man and hustler named Freddy Benson, poses as a crippled veteran as part of a plan to extract money from a rich woman. In order to induce her pity, Benson claims that he lost use of his legs after he found his girlfriend having sex with Terrio.
In recent years, he has appeared on several VH1 specials and co-hosted the 2004 PBS special Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion which featured many popular disco artists from the 1970s and actress Karen Lynn Gorney. During the show, Terrio and Gorney danced to Tavares’ live performance of “More Than a Woman”, as Gorney had with John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
In 2015, Terrio sued the toy company Hasbro in a federal court for creating an animated gecko and toy figurine named Vinnie Terrio. He alleged that his publicity rights were violated by the gecko and figurine.
- The New York Times
- "$11.3M lawsuit filed". The Victoria Advocate. January 8, 1992. p. 6C.
- "Questioning Merv's Sexuality". EDGE Boston. August 12, 2007.