Emile Ardolino

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Emile Ardolino
Emile Ardolino at the Academy Awards.jpg
Born(1943-05-09)May 9, 1943
Queens, New York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 20, 1993(1993-11-20) (aged 50)
Resting placeSt. John Cemetery (Queens), New York, U.S.
OccupationFilm director, choreographer
Notable work
Dirty Dancing
Sister Act

Emile Ardolino (May 9, 1943 – November 20, 1993) was an American film director, choreographer, and producer, best known for his films Dirty Dancing (1987) and Sister Act (1992).

Life and career[edit]

Ardolino was born in Maspeth, a neighborhood of Queens, the son of Italian immigrants Ester (nee Pesiri) and Emilio Ardolino.[1]

He began his career as an actor in off-Broadway productions, and then moved to the production side of the business. In 1967, he founded Compton-Ardolino Films with Gardner Compton.[2] In the 1970s and 1980s, Ardolino worked for PBS. His profiles of dancers and choreographers for their Dance in America and Live from Lincoln Center series earned him 17 Emmy Award nominations. He won the Emmy three times.

Ardolino won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the 1983 movie He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'.[3][4] He found commercial success with the Oscar-winning 1987 hit Dirty Dancing and made several mainstream films.

Ardolino died in California on November 20, 1993 of complications from AIDS. His last films, The Nutcracker (based on George Balanchine's New York City Ballet version) and the television production of Gypsy starring Bette Midler, were released and shown posthumously. Ardolino is buried beside his parents at St. John Cemetery in New York.

Ardolino was openly gay.[5]


  • 1969 Obie Award for the Broadway production of Oh! Calcutta!
  • 17 Emmy Award nominations, winning once[6]
  • 1983 Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature, for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin[7]

Filmography (partial)[edit]


  1. ^ "FamilySearch".
  2. ^ "Emile Ardolino, Director, Is Dead; Specialist in Dance Films Was 50". The New York Times. November 22, 1993. p. B12.
  3. ^ Documentary Winners: 1984 Oscars
  4. ^ 1984|Oscars.org
  5. ^ The New York Times biography of Emile Ardolino
  6. ^ He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (23 minute version) by National Dance Institute on YouTube
  7. ^ He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (23 minute version) by National Dance Institute on YouTube

External links[edit]